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Coronavirus / Community council secures grant to help folk during pandemic

Lerwick Town Hall.

LERWICK Community Council has been awarded nearly £25,000 in funding from the Scottish Government to support the town’s community during the Covid-19 crisis.

The money, which is coming via Highlands and Islands Enterprise from the supporting communities fund, is available for “community anchor organisations who play an active role in providing services within communities across the region”.

Lerwick Community Council, which liaised with Voluntary Action Shetland (VAS) before both organisations applied for funding, has made its first grant payment from the funding to charity Ability Shetland.

Its members have also come up with a number of proposals for how the money can be used, including providing digital solutions to support the health and wellbeing of the most vulnerable and isolated people in the community.

There was also a suggestion to provide support for other Lerwick-based partner third sector organisations for any unanticipated costs of service delivery while responding to the Covid-19 crisis in Lerwick.

Also raised was the distribution of books, games and puzzles to households around Lerwick.

Community council chairman Jim Anderson said some of the grant has been set aside to help with the expenses incurred by volunteers helping out the community during the pandemic, so that they are “not out of pocket and therefore unable to carry on helping out during what might be a prolonged crisis”.

At the online meeting of the community council on Monday evening, members debated how the grant would be administered to ensure it reached those people in need as soon as possible.

An order for 4G-enabled tablets has already been sent and it is hoped that some practical help might be in place within a couple of weeks.

Lerwick Community Council has also approached a number of local organisations and charities to see what projects the grant can support.

However, if anyone in the community has any ideas they are welcome to discuss them with the community council.

They should email Frances Valente at clerk@lerwickcc.org.uk, call 07770 672902, or send a message via the community council Facebook page.

The community council and VAS have worked together on a leaflet that will be going out to all households to let them know where they can get help during the pandemic.