COVID response in Nairnshire praised by Area Committee Members

Tom Heggie

Members at today’s Nairnshire Area Committee praised the response by the community, volunteers and partner agencies during the response and the ongoing recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

A local hubs was set up in Nairn, in line with the guidance for local authorities from the Scottish Government.

People in Nairn and the surrounding areas had support from the Highland Council freephone helpline, which was staffed by 30 volunteers from Highland Council.

The Local Community Hub was supported by the Ward Manager and the Distribution Hub in Inverness supported the co-ordination of food delivery. Those supplies were then sent onto the local hubs for distribution.

971 Scottish Government food parcels were distributed to people and there was direct food provision for 797 people in the Highland Council area. The busiest time for hubs was April, May and June. Their work has currently been significantly reduced, but there are still pockets of support, such as support for people in local infection outbreaks.

The Nairn Hub was operational five days a week for deliveries (9-5pm). It was eventually reduced to one day a week and is now on standby.

Partners at British Red Cross helped with pharmacy deliveries. If it was required water delivery was available, where private water supply might have been an issue.

Chair of the Nairnshire Area Committee, Tom Heggie, said: “All areas of Nairnshire have been well supported during the COVID-19 outbreak. We have seen a tremendous turn out by local groups, most of which were only established as a result of COVID-19.

“We had volunteers from High Life Highland, and not only were they professional but they were local and possessed crucial local knowledge. Everything which was done to provide support was only possible thanks to the fantastic work carried out by Highland Council, partner agencies, third sector partners such as HTSI (Highland Third Sector Interface) and volunteers.”

He added: “The support from the local community, third sector groups, volunteers and our multi-agency partners has been overwhelming. Everyone stepped up when needed to ensure could support the most vulnerable in our community and I am sure all member of this committee share my vote of thanks for all their efforts.

“What we have seen in an excellent community response. No one was looking for problems, they were only interested in solutions. Opportunities now exist through the relationships which were built with new groups and we should now look at how we as a Council can support these groups going forward.”

The Nairn Hub also assisted with Click and Collect and worked with supermarkets to use all options available, to ensure people had access to food. Welfare support was also provided.

In terms of support provision – 339 groups provided support across Highland with five of those in Nairn), two provided food support, two helped with medicine and prescriptions and one with social isolation/dog walking.

£73million was distributed across Highland for Business Grants and in the Nairn area £2.62m was distributed.

  • 201 small business grants, £2,202,500
  • 40 self-catering grants, £382,500
  • 5 B&B hardship grants, £15,000
  • 10 Newly Self-employed grants, £20,000
  • Total of £2,620,000 

In Nairnshire there was also £14,941 of funding, which included 14 allocations from a variety of sources COVID Ward Discretionary, HTSI Wellbeing Fund, Response, Recovery and Resilience, Supporting Communities (HIE) and the Wellbeing Fund.

Members also praised rural Community Councils who applied for grants and made sure people were fed and helped the people in rural Nairnshire.

16 Sep 2020