Covid-19 – Strange times indeed for us all

Monday March 30th 2020

Christine Grahame

Christine Grahame MSP writes her monthly column for Midlothian View.

Strange times indeed for us all. Myself and my staff are busy dealing with the many enquiries from constituents from our home offices. We are privileged to be able to help, if we can, and the work rankly makes the days roll by-so far. It will however be a long haul as we all know and being over 70 like others I am keeping myself socially isolated. Ordering on-line groceries is a nightmare and many stores have shut down registrations. I am fortunate to have family and neighbours helping out and of course the cat is in clover having me under his paws all day.

In the world beyond the gate, local people are helping out. There’s Penicuik Ambassadors a collaboration of local people volunteering to help out the community. The group is made up from representatives from Sweet Dignity Clothing Library, Penicuik and District Community Council, Midlothian Council, Penicuik Hunter and Lass and Penicuik Helpers and they are helping out in various ways, such as getting shopping and prescriptions for those who are self isolating. They are also looking at other things, such as providing books, puzzles etc to keep people active during this period and can be contacted on 07990 117700 or 07990 117699.

Foodbanks as you would anticipate are low in contributions. The Storehouse in Peniciuik is making up food parcels for the North Kirk Foodbank (children and families only). There is some money from the Community Council to pay for this and the North Kirk shelves are almost bare.

They are also struggling as the vast majority of their volunteers are over 70. Sacred Heart Foodbank has closed and Food Fact Friends (St Mungos) is asking for more volunteers. If you can please get in touch with my office (e-mail) and we’ll pass your details on.

Because so much information is coming out on an almost daily basis my office has put this together on my website www.christinegrahame.com. Click on that then on “coronavirus” and hopefully you will find some answers.

You know most folk are being sensible, considerate and kind. There will always be the thoughtless idiots who despite the deaths of front-line health workers, children suffering from cancer and highly vulnerable to this dreadful virus, older people stuck alone in a flat with no internet, no family, families driven to Foodbanks before any of this happened, think only of themselves. They are the lesser for it and if they flout the Scottish Government guidance, do not hesitate to report them.

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