Groups across East Lothian have risen to the challenge of caring for their communities during the current Coronavirus outbreak. 

The activities that are being carried out are inspiring and demonstrate the strength of community spirit that exists within our county.

East Lothian already had in place a Resilient Communities process, supported by the council over many years with resources and training that would help groups to be in a position to respond to any emergency impacting on their community. This process has been significantly built upon for the current situation. Over 1500 people are now part of official resilience networks supported by East Lothian Council, providing practical support within their community. Area Partnership groups,  Community Council Resilience Groups and established community support groups across the county saw the numbers of volunteers offering their assistance rise after appeals for helpers through social media and other channels.

Volunteers bring enthusiasm, commitment and a range of skills and backgrounds to the Covid-19 efforts. 

Official resilience networks are supported by East Lothian Council with funding, insurance, information, access to Connected Communities Service staffing and community hubs, with practical resources available including frozen meals, sanitary products and hearing aid batteries, and use of council printing facilities for leaflet-drops and other materials. 

Some examples include: 

  • Groups have created leaflets and updates for their communities, and worked to safely deliver these to their households
  • Aberlady Resilience group has made funds available through the village’s Gala fund to support households
  • Cockenzie and Port Seton has established a kitchen in the Port Seton Community Centre creating fresh meals for distribution within the area
  • Musselburgh Resilience Network, which includes Whitecraig and Wallyford, has established a network to cover an area with almost 24,000 residents. Food and supplies provisions are being delivered to vulnerable households and links have been made with major supermarkets.
  • Dirleton Area Resilience Team (DART) worked with Aldi and the Edinburgh Jam Company to distribute chocolate eggs to all children in the village and jam to households using their services to offer some Easter joy to households. They have also established a food hub in the local primary school.
  • Gullane Area Resilience Team received fresh vegetables and produce from the Bonnie Badger Hotel which volunteers used to prepare soup that was then frozen and distributed at a later date. Food donations have been received and shared with the local Day Centre kitchen for their daily food deliveries to vulnerable members.
  • Local groups also share their experiences each week within The East Lothian Courier newspaper, giving updates and contact details for anyone needing their support. 

While many people have come forward to act as volunteers, communities are also showing their support in other ways. Craft and Design teachers in secondary schools have been creating PPE equipment for frontline workers such as masks, while Home Economics teachers are sewing scrubs. Crowdfunding campaigns by Fundamental Foods, tackling food insecurity in the Prestonpans area, and Changes project in Musselburgh offering mental health support, both exceeded their campaign targets raising (£5904 and £1222 respectively). Local resilience groups have also reported offers of donations of money and resources to support their work from members of their community.

Cabinet Member for Community Wellbeing, Councillor Jim Goodfellow, said: “Volunteers and resilience groups are carrying out an enormous amount of work in East Lothian to benefit their communities. So much has been achieved in a relatively short space of time to create networks, gather volunteers and supplies, identify the priorities for their area, and provide services. Our council teams are working to support and enhance these activities with resources, funding, and access to facilities. 

"The activities that are being carried out are inspiring and demonstrate the strength of community spirit that exists within our county. I’d like to thank all of those who are involved for the work that you are doing, and the very real difference it is making.”

Members of the Musselburgh Resilience Group

Members of the Musselburgh Resilience Group


Published: Tuesday, 5th May 2020