North Moray Coast’s Response to COVID-19

The North Moray Coast communities have come together and responded quickly and effectively to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The first actions were taken by Burghead and Cummingston Community Council. They called for volunteers, with Chris Tuke as a focal point. The response was great with many more volunteers than tasks  to do tasks like shopping for those shielding . Another immediate task was organised by Les Taylor, who arranged to deliver medicines every day from the chemist.

Another priority was to provide food for people who might be struggling with illness, job or income loss and wellbeing issues. Their answer was a Blessing Box. Burghead and Cummingston Community Council and Burghead Free Church came up with the box, available for people to contribute to or take from. They have also now added a second box with toiletries, and a third box with fresh fruit and vegetables. This is simple and popular idea and is very successful.

Community Council member Joan Megson said:

“During this Covid crisis many of us have less income than usual, and some have much less. So this is a way for the whole community to help those who need food. None of us want anyone in our community to be hungry. This is a caring and generous community – less than a few days after we put the box out it was full”.

The Free Church’s Peter Turnbull added:

“We’re in a medical crisis, and also a financial crisis, and some people are struggling. People want to share what they have so if you need food please come and use the box. There is no shame in giving or accepting help. The box is in a discreet place, and no-one will see you come and leave or take food”.

As well as the Blessing Box both Burghead and Hopeman have a hot meal service, thanks to the funding from the Scottish Government, via Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE),  started delivering free hot meals once a week to those who need them most in Burghead and Cummingston. These are cooked by the Station Hotel, and delivered by volunteers they started with Sunday roasts, on Sunday May 17th.
The organisation is hoping to find the people who would benefit most – families and individuals with no income at the moment, the frail, self-isolated and elderly, and those who have no cooking facilities, for example. They are asking for help by nominating people that community members know who fit into these categories – in confidence, of course. You can also nominate yourself. They believe that if someone rings up and is anxious and says a hot meal would help then that’s good enough.

This service was started by Sharon Davidson, helped the rest of the newly formed Covid Emergency Committee, made up of members from the Burghead Amenities Association, the Community Council, the Community Hall, and Free Church.

“Last week, in Hopeman, it was 200 meals all at once! We did 30 the first week, 50 second week… it will go up. We are thinking about taking ready meals round to heat up too, instead of food parcels. We realise that if you’re frail or ill you may not be able to cook”.

The new emergency committee can also refer people to the Food Bank, and deliver food parcels – this is all organised by Carrie Marlow from Burghead Free Church.

Great ideas from fantastic communities pulling together.

For more information contact Fi

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