Start of a new year

Monday January 18th 2021

Colin Beattie MSP
Colin Beattie MSP, Midlothian North & Musselburgh, writes his monthly column for Midlothian View

Happy New Year! I hope that everyone has had a peaceful festive period and a pleasant start to the new year. I am aware that unfortunately this year will not have kicked off with the positive start many people were hoping for due to another lockdown. I am particularly concerned by the briefings regarding the new strain of the virus, and just how easily spread it is. I know that it is becoming increasingly difficult to follow restrictions, but if we don’t we risk putting ourselves and our NHS at a serious threat.

As the First Minister has said, we are in a race between the virus spreading and the vaccine rollout, and we need to give the vaccine a head start. We can only do this by following the rules. If you’re a business owner, you need to reconsider whether the service you are providing is critical. If you’re an employer, you need to consider whether your staff can do their job from home. As individuals, we all need to consider whether leaving the house is absolutely essential, or whether we can minimise the amount we leave the house. It’s hard, but we are all in this together. Let’s stick it out, get the vaccination rolled out, and save lives and our NHS.

If you are struggling to access food or essentials at this time, you can contact your local authority who can organise packages for you to support you through the lockdown period. Local CAB branches can also support you with any forms you may need to fill out to get help. You can call Midlothian Council about this at 0131 270 8898 or access more information here: https://www.midlothian.gov.uk/food-fund

If you are shielding and need advice you can phone the Scottish Government’s helpline on 0800 111 4000. If you are feeling overwhelmed or isolated, you may want to call Samaritans on 116 123 or Breathing Space on 0800 83 85 87.

Everyone on the shielding list is entitled to sign up to priority supermarket deliveries.

If you prefer to shop online, priority access to online supermarket delivery slots is available.  If you have not yet registered for a priority slot you can find out how to register at https://www.mygov.scot/support-shielding/

If you buy shopping online or have someone who’s able to get the items you need, you can carry on getting things in this way. Some retailers are also offering gift card schemes to allow others to shop for you.

Your local authority can offer support if you cannot afford food. You can contact them via the free national helpline on 0800 111 4000.

You can also still arrange for your prescription to be delivered. This can be by someone you know or by someone from your pharmacy. Contact your hospital care team if you need your medicines or equipment delivered, or contact 0800 111 4000 for further support.

As always, if anyone is struggling or needs further advice or support, I am always contactable at colin.beattie.msp@parliament.scot

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