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Community / Community council schemes intended to help those affected by coronavirus

A £20 voucher issued by the community council. Photo P. Johnson/Shetland News.

SANDSTING and Aithsting Community Council is appealing for people experiencing hardship as a result of coronavirus to make themselves known and access a share of funds.

The community council has recently been distributing £20 vouchers for the Bixter Shop and EID Community Cooperative to households in the West Side.

Last week it received news of a successful bid for £2,000 funding from the Corra Foundation for a free essential food/grocery service for anyone with difficulty affording basic foodstuffs or toiletries.

The fund can also provide assistance for those suffering fuel poverty and can provide PPE to small/single person businesses to allow them to safely return to work.

Chairman John Priest urged anyone struggling in these areas to come forward and make themselves known to the community council, which will deal with any requests with complete confidentiality.

He said: “We will be aiming this funding towards folk that is in financial difficulties. We can support them with food and energy costs.

“What we want them to do is if they make themselves known to us. It is all being done with as much confidentiality as possible. Our main objective is to deliver the funds to the folk that need it.”

Priest said that some people, for instance, have lost their jobs but have not been eligible for support available through national support schemes.

The Corra Foundation money adds to £10,000 the community council already received from the Scottish Government’s supporting communities fund via HIE.

That money helps pay for free home deliveries from the shops, medications and fuel and to provide essential support to the EID Community Cooperative.

It has also gone towards ensuring that “volunteer response is operated safely and efficiently and, where possible, joined up with other support activity” and to deliver a regular phone check scheme to support vulnerable community members.

The community council was nominated for the Corra Foundation cash by Voluntary Action Shetland. It is ring-fenced for the applicable purposes but Priest said that a certain amount of leeway was given as to how the government money is spent.

He said that Sandsting & Aithsting had been working closely with other community councils on the best ways to help the community in the Covid-19 crisis.

Anyone wanting to apply for assistance from Sandsting & Aithsting Community Council should contact Sharon Deyell on 01595810798 or 07909612593; email – sharon.deyell@btinternet.com; message Sandsting & Aithsting Community Council on its Facebook page or contact any of their community councillors.