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Responding to Covid-19 in Lochalsh

April 24, 2020

Communities Channel Scotland is sharing the impressive work of community groups across Scotland responding to the COVID-19 crisis by supporting the most vulnerable people in their communities. This case study describes how the Lochalsh Community Response is providing essential support in the West Highlands.

Lochalsh Response flyerA new COVID-19 support network has developed in Lochalsh in response to the COVID emergency. Called the Lochalsh Community Response, its purpose is to provide support for local communities and try to minimise Coronavirus impact on people in the area, particularly if they are self-isolating, being shielded due to underlying health problems or affected by poverty and loss of income.

Lochalsh Community Response

The Lochalsh Community Response covers 7 community council areas and provides the following services:

  • It has set up a Lochalsh-wide Helpline which people can call to request help with shopping or other errands. This information is then passed to specific community council areas where local volunteers help to carry out the tasks and ensure that people get the shopping and medication they need and know how to contact other essential services

  • It has created a dedicated website and a Facebook page where people can find information about locally available support. It has also produced a leaflet with information which was delivered to all households in Lochalsh.

  • It has set up a Food Share Project where food, nearing its sell-by date, from our local Co-op and Spar supermarkets, is distributed to those in need. People can call a newly set up Food Share Helpline to have it delivered or collect it from set locations.Joanna Wawrzyczek, Development Officer, Kyle & Lochalsh Community Trust holding a flyer for Lochalsh Community Response to coronavirus

  • It promotes the befriending and support services run by Skye and Lochalsh Council for Voluntary Organisations for those experiencing additional hardship, mental health problems and other issues.

  • It has secured funding for local organisations so they can support their vulnerable members during the outbreak. This includes organisations supporting young people and those who are disabled or with special needs as well as a neighbouring community council which works with a hotel to make and deliver meals to vulnerable people.

  • It has teamed up with a local Pilates teacher to produce a series of online video classes that people can access at their leisure.

Additional services

Lochalsh Community Response is also currently working to provide additional services:

  • As the local newspaper has closed temporarily, it is planning to produce a regular newsletter to keep the community informed about what’s going on locally.

  • It is working to set up a Meals on Wheels and Food Vouchers project in Lochalsh.

  • It is working with a local outdoor professional to produce a series of short bike maintenance videos which will help people to resolve simple problems and get out riding their bikes safely for their permitted exercise during the Coronavirus lockdown.

  • Finally, it is planning to set up a Virtual Meeting Space using both online platforms and group phone calls, led by volunteer tutors and hosts, in an effort to try and keep community life going during the crisis.

Lochalsh Community Response group

The Lochalsh Community Response group, which includes around 20 organisations, community councils and initiatives and is led by Kyle & Lochalsh Community Trust, holds weekly video-conferences to discuss the local needs and progress of individual projects. These are attended by one of our local councillors to ensure that local volunteer effort is linked to wider support from public services.

The group grew from the Lochalsh Collaboration which itself links local community councils, community development trusts and groups to look at community engagement and community action planning in the Lochalsh area.  

More info

For more information on Lochalsh Community Response see below.

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