Friday March 20th 2020
Written by Local Democracy Reporter, Marie Sharp
An army of volunteers have joined forces with council, emergency services and military to launch a kindness campaign in Midlothian.
The #Kindness@Midlothian Campaign aims to protect vulnerable people and support frontline workers.
It will bring together agencies that form Midlothian’s Community Planning Partnership to make sure key workers such as nurses, police, care staff and fire crews can continue to provide a vital service during the coronavirus outbreak.
The partnership is made up of representatives of the council, emergency services, health providers, the third sector, armed forces and local business.
It also has representatives from the Department for Work and Pensions and Scottish Government.
Midlothian Council leader Councillor Derek Milligan said:
“I don’t want one frontline worker, whether in the care sector, health or emergency services, unable to attend work because they don’t have suitable childcare in place.
“Our message is, we’re all in this together and we’re here to help each other.”
The council is finalising contingency plans to make sure pupils with additional support needs, such as those attending Saltersgate School and children on free school meals continue to be supported, while vulnerable older and isolated people in the community get help with everything from shopping to prescriptions.
With the council now short of cleaning and catering staff, the council will work with partner agencies, including the Federation of Small Businesses, to see if service industries can help bolster provision.
Meanwhile, Volunteer Midlothian will help co-ordinate offers to deliver food shopping and other necessities in communities.
Lesley Kelly, chair of Volunteer Midlothian, said: “We’re delighted to be onboard and we’ll work with the partnership to tackle the practicalities of offering a support service while keeping everyone involved safe.”
Inspector Arron Clinkscales of Police Scotland said the Kindness Campaign was welcome news. He said:
“Knowing that there are childcare arrangements that can be put in place would help us immensely. And by the same token, we’d obviously want to reciprocate with any help we can give.”
His sentiments were echoed by Area Commander Stephen Gourlay of East Lothian, Midlothian and the Scottish Borders Scottish Fire and Rescue Service.
He said: “We’ve planned for this type of pandemic outbreak but in terms of working with our partners to support our firefighters, these offers of help with childcare etc are really fantastic and appreciated.“
The council’s chief executive, Dr Grace Vickers, said:
“I am immensely proud and humbled by the level of kindness shown by local residents across Midlothian since the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak.
“The launch of this Kindness Campaign will help complement the excellent support already being offered. We are keen to hear your stories of going above and beyond.
“Please let us know on the Twitter account all the great things you’re doing. If you use the #Kindness@Midlothian and we can help share.
“We want to let people know the amount of help which is out there but also keep spirits up, something we’ll need in the weeks to come. Thank you to everyone for their outstanding contribution to Midlothian.”Tweet Share on Facebook