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Easter Ross communities boosted by busy volunteer-led support operation during Covid-19 coronavirus lockdown


By Louise Glen

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Volunteers based in the Seaboard Hall, Balintore have been doing food packages during the lockdown? ..Lynda Durrand, Maureen Ross and Norma Balfour...Picture: Callum Mackay..
Volunteers based in the Seaboard Hall, Balintore have been doing food packages during the lockdown? ..Lynda Durrand, Maureen Ross and Norma Balfour...Picture: Callum Mackay..

A VOLUNTEER-led initiative has been looking out for a community in Ross-shire during the coronavirus restrictions.

The Seaboard Centre has been a hub of activity for relief work in the Seaboard, Nigg and Fearn areas to get food and support to those people most in need.

The group expect the food box, and Meals on Wheels service to continue until at least the end of July.

Norma Balfour, who has been one of a group of people at the forefront of the service, said: "There are three strands to the operation. Firstly there is the supply of food boxes to the families and individuals who have been financially impacted due to reduced hours, furloughed or loss of jobs and we have worked closely with CCAST, a Christian community housing support service in Tain who supply the food boxes which we then supplement with fresh fruit, vegetables, meat and dairy produce. This is greatly appreciated by the families.

"Then there is the Meals on Wheels going out to those residents aged over 70 and anyone else who may be vulnerable.

"The third part of our work has been in the funding and administration for all of our activities."

To date the support given out in the communities has been in excess of £27,000 since the beginning of April, thanks to grants and donations to the group.

Mrs Balfour continued: "However, like other crisis centres we are now watching and waiting to see how the next two phases of Covid-19 will affect people. We don't know if there will be increased job losses as the furlough scheme changes.

"All of this is unknown at the moment, but the funding support we secured from various sources will, it is anticipated, see us through until the end of July.

"However, should needs increase then further funding support will be needed."

Mrs Balfour continued: "We cannot but praise our volunteers for their commitment to the task undertaken, whether that be phoning up for the Meals on Wheels orders or it may be that they love the chat on the phone, then there is checking the needs of the various families which are being supported and any changes to be made, or preparing and cooking the meals and by no means least those who faithfully deliver the meals twice a week straight to the doors.

"All of this is a commitment, we are not in normal times. No such thing as ‘we will close this week for a holiday’ the work just has to continue at the moment but we really do look forward to the day when our work will be working on the recovery of the business not relief work which at the moment we know is essential."

Related: Balintore scheme transformation is a lockdown labour of love

Click here to read more coronavirus news.


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