While East Lothian is in temporary lockdown, we are working with community partners to make sure our residents, particularly those in the most at-risk groups, have the support they need.

You can read more about the current lockdown restrictions, in particular the message to stay at home except for essential reasons, on the Scottish Government website.

 

Shielding People

The Scottish Government’s clear advice is that people in the shielding category who cannot work from home should not go into work at all and should work from home if possible - the Chief Medical Officer is writing afresh to everyone who now falls into this category.

Full shielding is not being advised in Scotland at this time. Instead, those in the shielding category can access priority online food shopping, can still go to essential food shops and are encouraged to exercise outdoors where possible. We are aware that many will have support from family, friends and neighbours but anyone who does require extra support can call the council’s dedicated helpline on 01875 824300.

Remember to sign up for Scottish Government updates via the text messaging service which is in the letters you have received from the Chief Medical Officer throughout the pandemic. You should also have received a helpful information booklet from the Chief Medical Officer at the end of last year giving you lots of helpful information and advice about everyday living.

 

Support for our communities and vulnerable residents

The support provided by our wonderful local Community Resilience Groups to the most vulnerable in our communities during the first lockdown early in 2020 cannot be underestimated. They were a lifeline to many.

However, as there is more national and local support in place now than in March last year, we are not asking the resilience groups to start operating again at this time.  We will continue to monitor demand for support and any changes in government guidelines.

Many community volunteers continue to provide informal ‘good neighbour’ support which is really valuable in helping reduce loneliness and isolation during this difficult time.

Help for those who are self-isolating for any reason is available on our website and includes:

  • Self-isolation support grants
  • Other financial support for individuals and businesses
  • Access to emergency community food provision
  • Warm clothing grants
  • Crisis grants
  • Winter fuel grants
  • Mental health support
  • Befriending via the Royal Voluntary Service
  • Digital support

NHS Hearing Aid batteries can be obtained from either visiting the council’s main offices or libraries or by contacting the Audiology service directly by email:  [email protected] or by phone on 0131 536 1637 during the following hours:  Mon – Fri 10 am – 1 pm and 2 pm – 4 pm.

If you need to apply for or renew your blue badge, please use the Government Portal where possible. Otherwise, you can download forms from our website and post them to us. If you are unable to access this information online please contact/visit Brunton Hall or John Muir House or one of our main libraries where you will be able to collect a printed application form.

Main council office and library opening hours are as follows:

  • John Muir House, Haddington, Mon – Fri 9 am – 1 pm
  • Brunton Hall, Musselburgh, Mon – Fri 10 am – 12 noon and 1 pm – 4 pm
  • Musselburgh Library, Mon – Fri 10 am – 1 pm and 2 pm – 4 pm
  • Haddington Library, John Gray Centre, Mon – Fri 10 am – 1 pm and 2 pm – 4 pm
  • Dunbar Library, Bleachingfield Centre, Mon – Fri 10 am – 1 pm and 2 pm – 4 pm
  • North Berwick Library, Mon – Fri 10 am – 1 pm and 2 pm – 4 pm

Pharmacies can deliver medicines, patients just need to contact their local pharmacy directly to arrange this.

If you are worried about a vulnerable child or adult in your community for any reason, you can report your concerns via our website or by calling 01875 824309.

 

Financial assistance

The council has received funding from the Scottish Government to support individuals at financial risk over the winter months. This funding is being used to:

  • Increase the grants available under the Scottish Welfare Fund, specifically Crisis Grants and Community Care Grants.
  • Increase the Discretionary Housing Payment Fund to assist tenants who have experienced new/increased rent arrears in 2020/21.
  • Create a new Fuel Insecurity Fund which can provide financial assistance to households in financial hardship and with fuel debts who may not be eligible for a Crisis Grant from the Scottish Welfare Fund.
  • Support to tackle food insecurity in our communities by providing support for community based food initiatives and support for the Fareshare Hub  (The East Lothian Fareshare Hub in Prestonpans provides surplus supermarket food free of charge to community groups in East Lothian).
  • Additional funding for emergency payments from Children and Adult Social Work to support families, young people and vulnerable adults in financial hardship.

Details of these funding streams are available in the Financial Support during COVID-19 leaflet on the council website.

 

 

 

 

Published: Friday, 8th January 2021