Jo Lochalsh Community Response

Jo showing the Lochalsh Community Response flyer – photo credit to Willie Urquhart at WHFP.

Covid-19 response in Lochalsh

Thanks to already having good working relationships established with groups and Community Councils in Lochalsh through the Lochalsh Collaboration project, it was natural for KLCT and others to form a Lochalsh Community Response network which met regularly to discuss ways to support our communities during Covid-19 emergency. The network included also a number of individuals and representatives of locally set up Covid response volunteer groups and we’ve also decided to support the neighbouring Kyleakin & Kylerhea Community Council area as they do not have a development trust.

You can read about our Covid initiatives below. We have also worked with the Community Land Scotland and SCDC’s Communities Channel Scotland to provide case studies of Lochalsh responding to the Covid pandemic.

HELPLINE

KLCT phone line (01599 534505) has been adapted into a helpline which has two options related to Covid. Option 1 is for the general Covid Response in Lochalsh where people can call to seek help with shopping and other errands. Option 2 is for Food Aid support to where people can request our vouchers, food from the Co-op or a referral to the Food Bank. The helpline is open 9am to 4pm Monday to Friday and is manned by 16 volunteers.

NEW WEBSITE

A Lochalsh Community Response website and Facebook page have been set up to provide up-to-date information about response initiatives in Lochalsh and other general Covid-related information.

COMMUNITY FOOD VOUCHERS

We are distributing around £1,000 in vouchers each week to local people who are struggling financially. To access the service people should call 01599 534505 (opt. 2) 9am – 4pm Monday to Friday or email food@lochalshcommunityresponse.co.uk. Vouchers are then delivered by post in the following week. Please note that people need to request the vouchers each week. For more information click here.

FOOD SHARE

Together with the Lochalsh Youth Community Trust KLCT distributes Co-op food at the end of its sell-by date. On Tuesdays, Wednesday and Thursdays our volunteers deliver food to people who are shielding, disabled or single parents with small children. On Monday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday perishable food will be left for an hour after 9pm at the Kyle Village Hall and Blessings Box in Kyleakin.

VIRTUAL EVENTS

We are hosting very popular events ranging from Telephone Ceilidhs, Family Zumba, Virtual Foraging, Quizzes, Art Sessions, Highland Dancing, Garden and Food Growing Advice and more. Information about the events can be found on the Lochalsh Community Response website, Facebook page and community newsletters.

SECURING FINANCES TO OTHER GROUPS

KLCT has secured around £64,000 in grants from the Scottish Government, National Lottery Community Fund and Community Land Scotland and individual donations to support Covid response in the area from March to September 2020. This includes over £11,000 which we managed to secure for Covid-related projects of the Lochalsh Youth Community Trust, Kyleakin Connections and Kyleakin & Kylerhea Community Council. If anyone would like to donate funds, this can be done through KLCT’s donation page.

PILATES VIDEOS

We have worked with a local Pilates teacher to provide 10 free Pilates videos to help people exercise at home. They are especially beneficial for elderly, frail and those with specific health conditions. Videos are aiming to help with: bone health, balance, posture, falls prevention, pelvis release and hip mobility as well as some chair and matwork Pilates. Check them out here – they are really popular with local people.

COMMUNITY NEWSLETTERS

We have started producing community newsletter every 3 weeks to keep everyone informed on what’s happening locally. We rely on local people and groups to provide the content and so far we’ve been delighted with the variety of articles, news and other entries. The feedback from the community has also been amazing. You can collect a hard copy of the newsletter from a local shop, download a digital copy from the Lochalsh Community Response website here or join a mailing list by emailing communitydevelopment@lochalsh.uk and we will send you a digital copy when it is next ready.

BIKE MAINTENANCE VIDEOS

We have teamed up with Skye MTB Adventures to prepare 4 free videos to help people with preparing their bikes for short local trips and do some minor repairs of their bikes. You can view the videos here.

VOLUNTEER EXPENSES

We offer to pay reasonable expenses of any individuals who are supporting their neighbours, friends or family during Covid. Eligible expenses include mileage for any additional trips that people do to support others, printing costs, etc. Our volunteer expenses policy can be accessed here. Please email info@lochalshcommunityresponse.co.uk to request a claims form.

Time frame: March 2020 – ongoing

Funding: £64,168

Funders: Scottish Government, National Lottery Community Fund, Community Land Scotland and private donations