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'Heartfelt thanks' to community volunteers who have risen to Covid-19 challenge from Highland Council leader

By Hector MacKenzie

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A "heartfelt thanks" was sent out to all council staff, community groups and volunteers helping with the Covid-19 emergency response by the Highland Council leader and a committee chairperson.

Council leader Margaret Davidson and chair of the communities and place committee, Allan Henderson, thanked staff for the work done during the original lockdown in March. At that time, staff from across all council services volunteered for new roles that included delivering food and essentials, processing business grants and welfare applications, taking calls on the council’s dedicated helplines and contacting the most vulnerable members of our community. "They did a terrific job," was the sentiment they both shared.

Highland Council leader Margaret Davidson sent out a 'heartfelt thanks'.
Highland Council leader Margaret Davidson sent out a 'heartfelt thanks'.

Since Christmas the number of infections in Highland has risen as they have elsewhere. In addition, calls to the council's helpline both for welfare and business have more than doubled.

Many staff are again volunteering to step into these roles as the council reopens its hubs to support people through the winter.

Over 300 local resilience groups have been set up across the Highlands pulling together community groups and individual volunteers to provide vital support where it is needed most.

Councillor Davidson said: “It is now nine months since the original lockdown in March which makes it even more heartening to see the continued dedication and ingenuity of our staff, local community groups and volunteers who are providing a wide range of support in our communities.

“The amount of work that has been going on day-in and day-out has been immense. I am proud and humbled by the resilience and dedication of our workforce, local community groups and everyone who has volunteered."

The council’s freephone Covid helpline is in place to help. It provides support and information on a wide range of issues including support for businesses, education, assisting key workers and those needing help with welfare benefits or free school meals vouchers. The number is 0300 303 1362.

Councillor Henderson, echoed the leader's thanks and praise. He said: “Our communities and the many people who have stepped up and volunteered their time and skills really deserve our gratitude.

"Looking out for each other and helping the most vulnerable through these very challenging times, remains a priority for everyone. What has particularly struck me is how quickly everyone has adapted and created new ways of working together – the efforts of so many, do really make a difference, so thank you.”

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