Since March our Children’s Hubs across East Lothian have been providing emergency learning and childcare.

When all schools across Scotland were closed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, Children’s Hubs were set up quickly to help key worker parents and carers continue in their roles at the frontline or to keep vital services running. The Children’s Hubs also provided support for vulernable children and children with complex additional support needs.

A wide range of individuals, teams and partners came forward to help including school senior leaders, teachers, learning assistants, administrators early years practitioners and additional support needs staff. Key roles have also been played by our Active Schools teams, the Outdoor Learning Service, Library Service, Ranger Service, Connected Communities, the Arts Service and the ‘Can Do’ Playscheme. Our Transportation and Facilities Management services have been closely involved.

Our teams worked together to provide a packed programme of activities and learning for the many hundreds of children who attended.

While demand for places was higher during term time, the council was keen to continue meeting the needs of parents during both the Easter and Summer holidays.

During the summer holidays, around 100 members of staff have switched from the normal role to support the running of the Children’s Hubs. A number of senior pupils from secondary schools also had the opportunity to help out.

As the new school session approaches and young people return to school, our Children’s Hubs will close from Friday 7 August.

Monica Patterson, Chief Executive of East Lothian Council, said:

“I’d like to thank staff from across the council and our partners who did such a fantastic job in initially establishing and then maintaining the hubs, including provision during school holidays. Responding to the pandemic has been hugely challenging for everyone.  I recognise that a huge amount of planning, preparation and day to say support has been provided and I’m pleased that this has benefited many families by enabling key worker parents and carers to continue working, while continuing to support children and young people with complex additional support needs. Feedback indicates this support has been very much appreciated.”

Shamin Akhtar, Cabinet Spokesperson for Education and Children’s Services, said:

“I know that many parents and carers have valued the support provided by our Children’s Hubs since March. Putting emergency learning and childcare in place was incredibly supportive, and we couldn’t have done it without the hard work and commitment of so many staff from across a number of different teams and services across the council and from some of our partners. Thank you to everyone who has been involved.”

Published: Friday, 7th August 2020