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Findhorn's COVID-19 response

Supporting Communities Fund award

Supporting Communities Fund award boosts local response to pandemic

Over 70 volunteers from across the Findhorn area are working together to provide emergency help, and provide activities to raise the spirits of those most impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ekopia, a community benefit society located in Findhorn, has been awarded £21,441 from the Scottish Government’s Supporting communities Fund, distributed in the region by HIE.

The money will be used by local community groups including Ekopia, the Findhorn Village Centre, the New Findhorn Association, Community Care Circle, Children & Youth in Community and Dance North to co-ordinate and deliver a range of initiatives to help local people.

Fasil Bogale of Ekopia said: "It's truly inspiring to see how the community has rallied together during lockdown – exemplifying what community means and using this difficult time to make it even stronger. The Scottish Government has played a vital role in acknowledging and supporting our community organisations, so that we can work together to deliver services on the ground as efficiently as possible."

Help where it's needed

The Fund will support local volunteers and businesses to continue to provide emergency help for those shielding, isolating or for those who are struggling as a result of loss of income. There’s immediate help for practicalities like food deliveries, prescriptions, dog walking, and finding someone to do emergency repairs. Locals are also trying to ensure people feel connected – including keeping in touch through Facebook.

Findhorn Village Centre has helped co-ordinate a ‘soup and pudding’ delivery for around 38 residents locally who are isolating or are over 70.

Cathy Low of the Village Centre said: “With the help of the fund we can also provide food parcels for those in the Findhorn area who are finding things challenging during this unprecedented situation.”

Anyone who needs help can contact Cathy confidentially at 07977 920010, or email findhornvillagecentre@gmail.com with subject line COVID 19 Food.

We'll meet again - VE Day celebrations

The funding also helped the community bring a ray of sunshine on VE day to just over 100 of its older residents. In normal circumstances there would have been a street party to mark the 75th anniversary, but with that being impossible, the volunteers did all they could to make the day special.

With help from the Captain’s Table, Tea Party Boxes with a sandwich, sausage roll, scone, Maclean’s fruit loaf and strawberry and cream cupcakes were delivered. The cupcakes were baked by Janet Wallace, all 123 of them, and Maclean’s sourced the cake boxes to hold the goodies. 

The Findhorn Village Store helped source ingredients and also supported the logistics, and boxes were delivered by volunteers.

 

After seven weeks of lockdown, with limited social contact the VE boxes provided an opportunity to say hello, make contact with the older residents and raise their spirits.
Cathy Low, Findhorn Village Centre

Findhorn Ecovillage action

Within The Park local groups have been working to support those who need help, including a specific focus on activities and information for families.

The Findhorn Park Community Care Group has set up a local Volunteer Action Group which has, amongst many other things, matched volunteers with vulnerable community members for errands such as shopping, prescriptions, transport and hospital appointments.

A novel communication method comes in the form of "Town Criers" who go around the settlement twice a week to bring up-to-date information, as well as some light entertainment relief. The care group has also provided PPE to volunteers and vulnerable people as well as the official guidance as it applies to them, and introduced an active listening service by skilled volunteers to alleviate anxiety, and mild mental health issues.  

The arts and culture sector is experiencing huge impacts from the lockdown. Dance North, based in The Park, has been keeping its artists and audiences connected through its own online classes, as well as to its extensive national and international network through blogs. The group is using some of the funding to support five artists to use the Culture Café network to find positive actions to address the challenges practising artists and makers currently face.