Easter Ross Area Committee Chair praises local community for its response to COVID-19
Members of the Easter Ross Area Committee today praised the efforts of local communities and businesses for their overwhelming support following the COVID-19 outbreak.
Committee chair Cllr Fiona Robertson told today’s Area Committee that communities had responded in a whole host of ways, from making and delivering meals on wheels, running foodbanks, community fridges and pharmacy deliveries to name but a few.
On behalf of Members of the Area Committee Cllr Robertson thanked everyone for their support, saying: “The majority of staff in Easter Ross live and work in our area, so they are already very much part of our communities and this clearly shone through in their dedication and willingness to be completely involved in every type of work and duty asked of them.
“I would like to highlight here the amazing response of our communities in the Tain and Easter Ross ward and the Cromarty Firth ward. We have all been humbled and are extremely proud of the way groups and individuals have stepped up and responded in a whole host of ways.”
Cllr Robertson added: “We have truly seen the very best of humanity during this time. There are so many groups, from business associations, community trusts, hall committees, community councils, youth groups and many more that have responded.
“As well as organised groups, we have seen teams of volunteers respond in a whole host of ways – from making and delivering meals on wheels, to setting up community shops, to collecting prescriptions, walking dogs, delivering shopping, running the food banks and community fridges. The list goes on and on with the way the people in Easter Ross have responded.
“On behalf of all the councillors in Easter Ross I would like to say a huge thank you to our communities, and to our staff, for their truly amazing and immediate response. We are all so very grateful and proud of you all.”
Cllr Robertson also expressed the Committee’s thank to those working in the NHS and all their staff for their ongoing work to protect people. She also thanked local businesses in Tain, Invergordon, Alness, Evanton and the whole Easter Ross area, who supported and joined all the efforts during this time.
HIE (Highlands and Islands Enterprise) were also praised for the work they’ve been doing with community groups and businesses to provide financial support and guidance.
The Local Community Hub offered support, particularly food support for those within the shielded category.
The hub supported 552 individuals who needed interim support while Scottish Government food parcels were put in place. And Highland-wide 422 people contacted the helpline for assistance with pharmacy deliveries.
The hub also provided crucial weekly contact in order to determine the support needed that week, as well as advice, guidance and signposting.
• Excellent community response with huge voluntary effort
• Very positive partnership working arrangements
• Willingness from everyone to engage/find solutions
• Legacy for future community resilience – pace of change at the beginning was very fast
• Strong partnership working
• New alliances between communities
• More use of IT/social media for comms and meetings
• Chance to do things differently in the future
There were 339 groups providing support across Highland, with ten of those groups located in the Easter Ross area.
Total funding for Easter Ross included 35 separate awards totalling £185,787.
In terms of Business Grant support, across Highland there have been 6,363 business grants awarded to date across the various streams, totalling £65,872,000
The total Funding totalled nearly £15,000,000. There were 1018 Small Business Grants issued totalling £10,977,500, 348 Self-catering grants approved totalling £3,247,500, 38 B&B Hardship Grants totalling £114,000 and 59 Newly self-employed grants totalling £118,000.
Highland Council Leader Margaret Davidson said: Highland Council Leader Margaret Davidson said: “Highland Council’s team who operated the business grant scheme did an incredible job. We were up within the top quarter of Scotland when it came to administering business grants.
“This team had a problem-solving approach. When people were worried they didn’t fit into a particular scheme they were provided with excellent support. I would also like to pay tribute to Business Gateway whose team were very much part of that support.”