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PEEBLES F

Issue 176

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COVID-19 - TOGETHER WE’VE GOT IT COVERED

YOUR DIRECTORY OF HELP & SUPPORT ON BACK COVER

A community magazine serving the residents of Peebles and Cardrona Delivered FREE to every home in the area May 2020


0800 009 6709 PEEBLES COVID-19 MUTUAL SUPPORT GROUP ARE HERE TO HELP YOU If you are a key worker, self-isolating, vulnerable, or just need a little assistance then we can help with: Urgent supplies Collecting prescriptions Posting mail Dog walking A friendly phone call This is a volunteer service and free of charge To protect us both please be aware of the following: All our volunteers will telephone you first to agree some form of identification We will never ask to enter your house and will only deliver to the doorstep If you require the collection of goods we will agree a payment method in advance If for any reason you are unable to pay, we can help, so make us aware

Call free on 0800 009 6709 submit a support request form at www.peeblessupport.org or email us at support@peeblessupport.org

PEEBLES COVID-19 MUTUAL SUPPORT GROUP


Helping Each Other A message from Peebles Community Trust Chairman Lawrie Hayworth In these extraordinary times many thousands of people throughout the country find that they need some extra support. Welcome to the Peebles Life/Peebles Community Trust Covid Special. We all hope that you’re keeping well and looking after each other if you’re lucky enough to have each other to look after, and coping with the absence of human company if you’re not. It’s been said on many occasions now that these are strange times. We’ve left winter behind and it looks like we’ll still be exercising social distancing as we move towards the autumn. This magazine is designed as a directory/handbook with details of what sort of help is available and where you can find it. We’ve filled the back page with that information. Inside you can read some of the stories we came across while compiling this magazine – how new support groups sprang up and how existing ones adapted to the new situation. Peebles has a well-earned reputation for volunteering and the pandemic has shown the strength of that reputation. It’s sometimes observed that in normal times many of the town’s volunteers are elderly; they’re the ones with time on their hands, without work or children to demand their attention. Many of these are now considered vulnerable and have had to stay at home, but hundreds of younger people have filled their shoes. We’re happy that the Scottish government saw the need to back the volunteers and the people they help. The government asked

the PCT to administer and distribute grant aid under its Supporting Communities Fund to help local communities and households during the Covid-19 pandemic. The aim is to provide support through community anchor organisations such as PCT working in partnership with others in the community and with public services in co-ordinating local responses to the pandemic. PCT identified several organisations either specifically established in the wake of Covid-19, like the Peebles Covid-19 Support Group, or already operating, such as Peeblesshire Food Bank. We asked the groups what they needed and how much it might cost, and we have been able to distribute much needed cash to help them in their work and maximise the assistance available to those in need. With this in mind, PCT is collaborating with the magazine Peebles Life to produce this Covid-19 Special edition of the magazine. Peebles Life had been forced to reduce publication to a slimmed down online version during the pandemic. This special edition offers a handbook or directory of news and information about the help and services available in Peebles and its immediate area and volunteers from the Covid-19 Support Group aim to deliver it to every household in the area in early May. We hope it helps you if you need to ask for help, and we hope you like the stories of Peebles in the pandemic.


Peebles

Community Council A message from Peebles Community Council by Chairman Les Turnbull We are living through strange times – how many times have we all heard that refrain? But it is true. This pandemic has had a seriously debilitating effect on Peebles, one which is set to stay with us for a long time. That said, there are also beacons of hope which bode well for the future. There is no escaping the fact that many of our small and local businesses might suffer greatly, it is sad to see some shops already empty as this crisis continues. Other local businesses on the other hand have been able to change the way they operate to provide much needed home delivery services. There is no doubt that peoples lives will change because of this crisis. It is likely that many workers will continue to work more frequently from home, shopping habits will change as more people purchase on line and many of our local businesses are also trying to adapt to this new reality. However, there really is no substitute for a busy and bustling High Street and until now Peebles has been very fortunate in having a vibrant and busy High Street full of independent shops which serves our local needs as well as providing an interesting

place for our many visitors. We want this to continue after Covid-19 becomes a distant memory. This brings us to how we might be able to help preserve our unique High Street and businesses. Most residents have been aware that the Community Council has been concerned for some time about the number of empty shops in our main thoroughfare; fortunately and more recently there have been fewer. Only last year Scottish Borders Council told us that they were going to stop planting up our borders and hanging baskets so the Community Council jumped into action and along with others, Bonnie Peebles Plus was formed and was successful in obtaining sponsorship from our local businesses and residents. This was due to the wonderful community spirit that we have here in this town. Plans and arrangements were made to ensure that the flower beds and hanging baskets were maintained this coming year; of course this crisis has meant that, at the time of writing, we are not certain that all the plants we need will be available. But we are hopeful that some displays can still go ahead. We want to ensure that

our town is still a beautiful place to live and work. As a community we do need to support our local businesses as much as we can, just as they have supported our quest for funds for the flower beds. The town really does need to pull together to ensure that our shops and business not only survive but thrive. During this crisis many members of the community have offered help to those residents who are either vulnerable or ‘shielding’. The Peebles Resilience Group, the Covid-19 Mutual Support Group, the Food Foundation and others, all volunteers, have stepped up to provide much needed food and assistance to those who need it. Just as we in the community are pulling together during this crisis it is essential that the community pulls together when the crisis passes or begins to subside by using local suppliers where we can and by supporting our local businesses. If our High Street fails to recover, then Peebles as a place to live and visit will be diminished, it does need your support which in turn will help our community to thrive and prosper.


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IMPORTANT PUBLIC NOTICE COVID-19

A number of Scottish Borders Council services have been impacted by coronavirus (COVID-19). For the latest updates on services and information on the wide range of support available to local residents and businesses visit:

www.scotborders.gov.uk/coronavirus

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CAB Old Dogs learning new tricks! Peebles and District Citizens Advice Bureau continues to provide a service to the people of Peebles and surrounding areas despite the restrictions imposed by the response to Covid-19, says Peebles CAB advisor Adrian Dunn. “There are as many or more issues that people are trying to deal with, and we are doing our best to provide support and advice,” he says. Like the rest of the Citizens Advice Scotland network, the Peebles office is closed for the foreseeable future, but advisers are working from home and supporting clients by using telephone or email to answer queries or provide advice. “We have also had to learn how to use apps like Zoom to stay in touch and have had to devise new ways of working with regard to case research and recording but we are doing it,” says Adrian.

People are currently seeking advice about a range of issues including: •

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (Furloughing)

The Government Business Loan Scheme

Statutory Sick Pay

Claiming benefits, especially Universal Credit.

“We are still providing advice on everything else that we normally deal with so if you have concerns about any of the above, or non Covid-19 related issues, please feel free to contact us and we will be there to help you,” says Adrian.

The bureau is also posting regular updates and useful information on www.facebook.com/ PeeblesCAB. If you need to book an appointment, please phone or email Session Supervisor and Administrator Emma Grigor on 01721 721722, email: adminuser@peeblescab.casonline. org.uk. There is also a general public advice website: www.citizensadvice.org.uk/scotland/ In addition, CAB has combined with the Scottish Government in a campaign to raise awareness of the financial support available to people, with information and advice on rent and mortgage payments, energy bills, council tax and benefits. "Even if you are not entitled to Universal Credit, there could be other assistance that you can access so it is worth checking," says ShirleyAnne Somerville, Scottish Cabinet Secretary for Social Security and Older People. “We’ve been working with the CAB network in Scotland to create this central source of information, with everything from guidance on benefits, right through to what you can do if you are worried about paying your mortgage or rent.” CAB Scotland chief executive Derek Mitchell urges households to use the information available: “There may also be lots of people who have never used our services before and it’s crucial that they know our information and advice is there for them too.” CAB has set up a dedicated helpline for people who might not be able to access our services online. If you have been financially impacted by the coronavirus outbreak and require free, confidential, financial support, call 0800 028 1456.


Peebles in Unprecedented Times:

Experiences of a pandemic in spring 2020 By Helen Holt The pandemic will be analysed for decades to come by social scientists, economists and historians. Every aspect of life has changed, from the way we communicate to the way we shop. In Peebles, we are fortunate to have beautiful countryside in which to exercise and to have witnessed an outpouring of community support, but many of us have at times felt anxious, stressed or disorientated. I’d like to capture some of this by compiling a book of people’s experiences, with profits going to local charities. I’m a freelance copyeditor and I’m looking for contributors with stories to tell and it would be fantastic if you could send me something on one or more of the following themes. Working through a pandemic: How has your work changed? What difficulties have you faced? What new practices do you want to keep? Contributions are welcome from volunteer organizations, local businesses, key workers, and those working from home. Lockdown diaries: Whether you are a schoolchild exercising with Joe Wicks, a furloughed worker on a budget, or someone classed as vulnerable, please write about your day. It might not be exciting (social distancing in the supermarket, technical hitches with Zoom, dodgy haircuts), but will provide a valuable snapshot of life in lockdown.

Reflections: The pandemic has thrown up many emotions and much food for thought. Some have suffered from cabin fever, while others have relished the slower pace of life. Some have found comfort in religious faith, while others have unanswerable questions. Some are hoping for a greener, less materialistic society postpandemic. Please share your hopes, fears and coping strategies, in poetry or prose. Beyond words: Evidence of the pandemic can be seen everywhere, from windows with rainbow paintings to empty streets. Please contribute a photo — of a changed Peebles, or of your artwork. Written contributions should be no more than 700 words, and the deadline is June 12. (Note that your contribution may be edited, or that only excerpts may be included, depending on the space available.) Let me know how you want to be identified, for example ‘Jack Farrow, student, age 13’, or simply ‘Anonymous’. Contributions can be emailed to pandemicpeebles@gmail.com, or posted to 38 Edderston Rd, Peebles, EH45 9DT. I hope that this book will enable us to share our experiences, and provide an interesting record for future generations. But I can only compile it with your help. So, please do contribute, even if the only thing you usually write is a shopping list!


      

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Food and Friendship The Food Foundation (www.facebook.com/ kingsmeadowscatering/), formerly known as Kingsmeadows Catering, has been active in Peebles since 2007. Here the chairman and director Robin Tatler relates how the organisation responded to the lockdown. As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic we suspended all our usual activities and extended an existing programme called “Food and Friendship” to become Meals on Wheels. This provides a free daily meal for anyone who needs in Peebles and the surrounding area, including Innerleithen, Cardrona and West Linton. The service is for people who are self-isolating, older or simply struggling to feed themselves for a variety of reasons including economic hardship brought about by the lockdown. From the very first the organisation has responded to requests without questioning the personal circumstances of the recipients – and we will continue to operate on this basis. We take referrals via the Community Assistance Hub – which is where anyone needing help should go in the first instance by calling 0300 100 1800, but we are also responding to requests directly via our own freephone number 0800 009 6363. Backed by volunteers from the Peebles Resilient Community and Covid-19 Mutual Support Group a team of staff are preparing and delivering up to 60 meals a day, seven days a

week from the organisation’s commercial kitchen premises in the Victoria Park Centre in Peebles – at all times maintaining the established protocols on social-distancing and infection control measures. With the suspension of our regular business and the provision of this new service the Food Foundation is using what remains of its existing funding to support continuation. We are grateful to the organisations, including Peebles Community Trust, and individuals who have been generous with donations of ingredients, packaging and money – this is very much appreciated. In addition to the Meals on Wheels service, the Food Foundation has become the host of a new “click and collect” farmers market called NeighbourFood Peebles. This initiative supports local food producers by connecting them directly with customers. After choosing from meat, vegetables, fruit, cheese, bread and other treats, customers complete and pay online and then either pick up their shopping in person at the Victoria Park Centre or can have it delivered if they are unable to collect. As host, the Food Foundation receives 10% of all sales – which helps to support the Meals on Wheels service. The Food Foundation has the highest award for food hygiene given by Scottish Borders Council, the EatSafe Award, and we also hold the Healthy Living Award. All meals are nutritionally balanced and cater

for those with any special dietary requirements. The Food Foundation is a registered charity and social enterprise with a board of trustees. Until we suspended our normal work we provided practical training and experience in our commercial kitchen for hundreds of local people with learning and other disabilities. This was backed up by online learning modules, providing our students with a pathway to future employment. The kitchen supplied local businesses and groups with a range of soups, meals and snacks, and our buffet service was particularly popular. A recent project called “Food Foundation Favourites” featured young volunteers, including students from Peebles High School, developing a range of long shelf life products including chutney and shortbread for sale in local shops. We look forward to returning to these activities and the opening of our planned “Green Garden Café” at the Centre in better times. Finally, we would like to take this opportunity to thank our small and dedicated team of staff and the many volunteers from Peebles Resilient Community and Peebles Covid-19 Mutual Support Group, without whom we would not have been able to adapt the organisation to respond to the current needs of our local community.


Funding the Gaps The Fallago Environment Fund, which handles the community benefit cash generated by the Fallago Rig Wind Farm in the Lammermuir Hills of Berwickshire, has launched a £100,000 Covid-19 grant scheme to help people in the Scottish Borders recover from the impact of the coronavirus crisis and lockdown. With restrictions being lifted in stages but social distancing likely for many months, the limitedlifetime Covid-19 Recovery Grant Programme is aimed at projects that improve quality of life and wellbeing and help to reduce the negative impact of social isolation for local residents. Grants of between £500 and £5,000 are available and priority will be given to small organisations with local impact which are delivering recovery projects that would not happen or would be significantly delayed without this support. Potential projects could include maintenance of assets such as recreation areas, footpaths or community woodlands so that people can use them more easily, better use of community gardens or allotments, activities needed to support social distancing measures – such as signage – or anything that will help people to exercise safely. Voluntary and community organisations operating in the Scottish Borders are eligible to apply for grants which the fund managers, Roxburghe Estates, EDF Renewables and Hermes Infrastructure, hope will address funding gaps not currently covered by existing government and charitable initiatives. Fallago Environment Fund chairman Gareth Baird said: “We are very aware of the far-reaching impact Covid-19 is having on the physical, mental and economic wellbeing of Borders residents. “While there are many government and charitable initiatives addressing immediate hardship, we wanted to find a way to assist local communities to recover as quickly as possible through projects that

help provide a positive and healing environment. The Borders is renowned for its community spirit and we hope that this Fund can help to support local residents as we all navigate through this unprecedented crisis.” The Covid-19 Recovery Grant Programme will be administered by The Bridge, which has an office in Peebles. Funding deadlines will be announced every two to three weeks to allow applications to keep pace with the evolving situation and ensure grants are allocated in the most effective way. Decisions will be made within seven working days of each deadline with grant payments made up front. Costs can be for capital or revenue with a minimum project cost of £500.  If the overall project costs more than £5,000, match funding must already be in place. The Bridge executive officer Morag Walker said: “We will be working hard to get this much- needed funding out to where it will do most good, in the shortest possible time.” Information about the application process can be found at www.the-bridge.uk.net or by emailing fallago@the-bridge.uk.net.


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Food Bank Bites Back Peebles Food Bank manager Francis Mourdant says the lockdown hit hard. At lockdown we lost over half of our 25 volunteers because of their age or health issues, including two of our four team leaders, who keep the keys and mobile phone for a week at a time and organise the food stocks and volunteers and deliver the food parcels. We have always worked to a very simple model with no paid staff, just volunteers working from a warehouse and delivering food parcels direct to people’s homes mainly in Peebles, Innerleithen and Walkerburn, but also to rural areas of Peeblesshire. Interestingly most food banks are now having to work to this delivery-only model having been forced to close their centres. Our warehouse is so small it makes social distancing almost impossible so we have had to impose a maximum of two at a time and only family groups. Original and new volunteers have stepped up magnificently so we now have four team leaders again and about 20 volunteers who are getting through an increased workload. A massive difference has been made by Peebles Rugby Club who now do the deliveries of food parcels. Our main objective is the same, to provide emergency food parcels to those in immediate and extreme need. Covid 19 has resulted in an 85% increase in referrals in the four weeks to date compared to last year’s average. So from 33 referrals per four weeks last year we are now getting over 60 and with an average of nearly two people fed per referral we are feeding over 100 people a month.

This is despite the fact that donations of food from the community via the Tesco, Sainsbury’s and the Innerleithen Coop, and from churches, schools and individuals have declined as many people don’t get out so much or have little or no money coming in. This means we have had to buy in far more food stocks than usual, which is why grants like the one via Peebles Community Trust are so important. Many people are donating money in place of food, often direct to our bank account (details below). Many thanks to all of you especially those who haven’t left an address so we can’t thank you directly. To get a food parcel people need to be referred by one of our referral agencies who make the decision on need and pass on relevant details to our duty team leader. Our main referrers have been Citizens Advice and Social Work, but schools, doctors, health workers, churches and many other voluntary sector organisations can make referrals. A food parcel is designed to last for at least 3 days and is made up of non-perishable food to give a nutritionally balanced diet. Peeblesshire Food Bank was founded in 2013 to meet an increasing need in the community to help individuals and families who had no funds to put food on the table. Working with the Trussell Trust the food bank became a Scottish charity in January 2015 (SC045330).

The charity’s bank details are: Sort Code 87-70-39, Account number 76692060 peeblesshire.foodbank.org.uk www.facebook.com/Peeblesshire Foodbank

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Pandemic volunteers among the rugby players to deliver parcels packed at the Food Bank to people who would otherwise go hungry. “I check the group’s website regularly for any requests that come in for our area, Peebles NorthWest, and I have 30 or 40 volunteers so I can put someone in touch with what needs to be done,” he said. Things that need doing range from walking someone’s dog, doing their shopping, fetching their medication. Some of the rugby players shifted half a ton of firewood for one person, and hammered in a post in an elderly lady’s garden to secure a dodgy step into her summerhouse.

Kerry Dennis is one of the team co-ordinators with Peebles Food Bank. She says the number of food parcels going out to families and individuals has nearly doubled since the start f the pandemic, as many people had to wait for the government to release furlough money, or suddenly found themselves without a job at all. “I’m a supply nursery nurse in the Peebles area and people like myself suddenly had nothing coming in at all – and there are a lot of people like that,” she said. When the lockdown began there was a problem getting supplies from shops, but she said the generosity of people in and around the town had been amazing. “When they have not been able to get stuff to give us they have given us cash. One family ran an online race night and raised £200.” Some sources of food, like the churches and shops, have dried up, but the girl guides gave a huge donation. And Peebles Rugby Club has undertaken to deliver the parcels – which can weigh as much as 35 kilos for a family. And a lot of people suddenly unemployed and at home, have stepped up as volunteers to help sort and pack. “It’s been heart-warming to see people pulling together,” she said. Peebles Rugby Club’s Youth Development Officer George Blair s is using the lockdown to lend a helping hand to the local community. George is one of the five area co-ordinators for the Covid-19 Mutual Support Group, and he also organises

“We quite like doing things like this just to get out,” said George. “It’s something for us to do while we’re in lockdown. And the Food Bank is getting busier every week. The rugby club gets a lot of support from the community and it’s nice to give something back. It’s good for us too because we have time on our hands and doing this helps to provide a focus for the day.” Ex Servicemen’s Pipe Band members have been piping in the weekly Thursday evening manifestation of support and thanks to NHS staff and key workers. Our photos show Scott Johnstone and his son Alfie in their Kirkland Street front garden And along with fellow band members they will be out again at 3pm on May 8 to mark VE Day, the moment 75 years ago when the long years of war in Europe finally ended. The plan was to hold a parade through the town, but Pipe Major Tracey Thomson said that was no longer possible. “So we’re going to do the next best thing and every piper who is able will be at their front door marking the anniversary as best as they can,” she said. “It’s been good to do out bit, hopefully to raise spirits at the same time as showing our gratitude to NHS staff and key workers.” Paul Spence (bottom right) doesn’t hide his light under a bushel. The VP System-Engineering Leadership Coach and Mentor is co-chairman of Peebles Resilience Group, which aims to help communities prepare better, organise and respond to emergency situations like severe weather events, fire, flood, power failure and other emergencies. He’s also one of the organisers of the Peebles Three Bridges Race, which was meant to take place


People on May 9. Organising is something he does. And when he heard that people were responding to the pandemic through a local mutual support group, he set up a crowdfunding drive to raise £2,000 to help them. By the end of April his effort had attracted more than £2,500 from nearly 50 donors. “Sophie Hamilton was ahead of the pack and set up Peebles Covid-19 Support Group a week before the lockdown was announced,” said Paul. He saw her Facebook message and offered to help out. Now he is one of the organisers, combining working from home with the work of the support group, and says his contribution main has been devising a structure to allocate tasks to 340 signedup volunteers. Elderly people running out of money to buy essential has been a major problem. “In the first few weeks the elderly were told to stay indoors and that meant they couldn’t go out to get money,” he said. “People want to be independent and look after themselves, but they couldn’t because they had to stay indoors.” Early fund-raising efforts meant the group could provide much needed cash, and linking up with the Food Foundation solved the problem of getting something to eat. But not everyone was happy with someone they didn’t know coming to the door. “One lady phoned up at 6pm crying her eyes out. She said she had a lot of underlying health conditions and did not want anyone coming to her door. I did not expect to have to counsel someone on the phone.” Lockdown was a disaster for one elderly Peebles woman. Lyndal Bale had been trying to sell her house in Portugal for nearly four years and finally succeeded on February 4. But currency regulations meant she could only transfer money from Portugal in daily amounts of €7,300 (euros). That took 45 days. “All was in place to complete her purchase of a house in Peebles on March 27 and moving on the 30th – the very week that lockdown was ordered. I could not believe I had come so close to achieving my goal – only to be stopped at the last minute by a global lockdown.“ Matters got worse. She had to rescind her order to disconnect the phone line and broadband – but because everyone was working from home, the

order was not implemented and they were cut off on March. “So I was completely bereft and isolated from everything that was going on until April 15 when they reconnected me to the internet. I was also able to phone out, but no-one could phone me until Monday April 22. I cannot tell you furious I was with it all, but I am back online now. Eventually, her patience was rewarded. The house purchase was completed on April 24 (a month late). But she still could not move because of the lockdown. Eventually, her son Iain had a neighbour's help to shift the big heavy furniture in the neighbour's van. “But I don't want to moan – many other folks have had to bear deaths in their families and far harder problems than mine. And key workers and carers and NHS staff are putting their lives on the line every day to keep us elderly people safe.”


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Tweeddale Councillors Bell and Anderson

Councillor Stuart Bell Tel. 0300 100 0220 stuart.bell@scotborders.gov.uk

Councillor Heather Anderson Tel. 0300 100 0220 heather.anderson@scotborders.gov.uk

Constituents wishing to contact Councillors Bell or Anderson can do so by contacting them on the above details. Visit us online at www.peebleslife.com


Resilient Eddleston Contact EddlePhone Help: 07744 443 8732 Facebook details: bit.ly/ResEddleston Horseshoe Inn: 01721730225 Resilient Eddleston is a locally-run, voluntary group that works in close collaboration with Eddleston Community Council. It was set up in late March in response to the current Covid-19 crisis. Currently more than 100 village residents are connected via the Resilient Eddleston Facebook page and the EddlePhone WhatsApp group (details above). The purpose of Resilient Eddleston is to provide practical support, as required, to all residents within the Eddleston Community Council catchment area – with a particular focus on vulnerable groups and households that are selfisolating. Any local resident in need of support can call the EddlePhone helpline (number above). The phone is continuously covered by a group of local volunteers. Practical requests for support to date have included:

Tuesdays and Fridays. The Horseshoe is also providing a range of hot or frozen ready meals on Tuesdays and Fridays - and a takeaway service on Fridays and Saturdays. With funding from the Supporting Communities Fund, via Peebles Community Trust, The Horseshoe will soon be offering free hot meals on Tuesdays and Thursdays to any residents who would benefit. Residents should call the pub on Monday and Wednesday between 11 and 12 to order. More information is available on the Horseshoe’s Facebook page: www.facebook.com/horseshoeinneddleston Over the coming weeks, Resilient Eddleston plans to widen the scope of the support on offer, to include: •

Fitness instruction classes on Zoom

Shopping

Crafting resources for children and adults

Ordering and collecting prescriptions

Online set-ups for shopping / video calls

Online craft classes for children and adults

Picking up takeaway / hot meals

Taking out bins

A ‘library’ of lockdown activities for children and adults

Walking dogs

Resources to enhance home schooling

• •

Loaning DVDs / Books etc

Technology support of various kinds

People who feel lonely or anxious in the current lockdown situation can also call the EddlePhone for advice or just a friendly chat. The Horseshoe Inn is an integral part of Resilient Eddleston. It is operating as a local food hub in the village. Residents can order fruit, veg, meat and other groceries through a number of different suppliers for collection / delivery on

Eddleston Primary School Parent Council have also successfully secured funding through The Bridge Microgrants programme, and plan to offer online art and dance classes for children through the lockdown period. We would welcome ideas and feedback from anyone in the community who has suggestions about how best to develop the support we offer over the coming months – either via the EddlePhone or the Facebook page. (contact details above).


Curtain Down at the Eastgate We’ll be missing Beltane this year, but the festival is not the only cultural icon that the pandemic has hit. The lockdown hit the Eastgate Theatre where it hurt: “We lost about £8,000 in March alone and there were no savings because we had to hurry to close things down,” said theatre manager Caroline Adam. “The finances are a bit scarey.” The Scottish government has provided grants for small businesses based on rateable values, but the cut-off point is £51,000 and the Eastgate has a higher level. “Despite all our efforts we don’t fir in to any of the small business grants schemes and we’ve drawn a blank in seeking help from SBC, the Scottish government and our representatives on those bodies,” said Caroline. ”I often feel in Eastgate that we often struggle to fit into the boxes. We’re not square or round. Perhaps we’re oval or some other box – hopefully not a coffin.” One reason why Caroline is not entirely depressed about the lockdown at the Eastgate is the response of the lively Friends organisation, which donated £5,000 to the theatre before the end of April. But there’s more to be done.

“We’re setting up a campaign on the online fundraising platform JustGiving with a target of £25,000, which is the level of grant we should have had from the Scottish government if we had qualified,” she said. “We are in a difficult position because we depend for more than 70% of our turnover on trading, and we lost three months last year because of the refurbishments, so we’re extremely vulnerable. We will do our best to fight back. We know the community is supportive and if we get a little but more help from somewhere we will be much happier.” Caroline said she hoped the theatre would be able to begin a phased reopening

some time in June, using whatever restraints were necessary to comply with safety measures and social distancing. “In the summer months those restraints are not so bad because we have space outside and we can do the studio events in the main auditorium, but I don’t know what the government will say about small theatres and cinemas. “We will figure what we can do in due course and we have other ideas about how we might run events, and maybe run more shorter events so we can have two in one day and get more bums n seats.


David Mundell MP Member of Parliament for Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale & Tweeddale

Thank you to all our hardworking NHS staff and key workers for all you are doing. Your efforts are appreciated and show our community at its best. If I can be of help please contact me on 01683 222746 or e-mail on david@davidmundell.com

STAY AT HOME. PROTECT THE NHS. SAVE LIVES.


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We are recruiting for both Full Time/Part Time Care Staff and Nightshift workers. We have both Live In and Live Out positions available. (Attractive salary and benefits, training and career prospects)

Join our team and make a real difference delivering care to the vulnerable adults with learning disability, you don’t need previous experience, as full training and support will be provided. Garvald West Linton is an established provider of residential and day care services for adults with learning disabilities. Care is provided in five houses and there are eight workshop areas as well as further education and individual therapies. Our work is based on the principles of Rudolf Steiner. We are situated 20 miles south of Edinburgh in beautiful surroundings near West Linton. Values and Attributes You must be; • able to treat our service users with dignity and respect • able to uphold their rights as individuals • honest and trustworthy • reliable and dependable Skills and Abilities You must be able to; • communicate well • recognise and respond to the needs of others • work as part of a team • be flexible in approach • maintain good sense of humour

For more information and/or an informal discussion or visit, please email info@garvaldwestlinton.org.uk or telephone the number below.

Garvald West Linton, Garvald House, Dolphinton, West Linton, EH46 7HJ Tel: (01968) 682211 Fax: (01968) 682611 E mail: office@garvaldwestlinton.org.uk Web: www.garvaldwestlinton.org.uk Visit us online at www.peebleslife.com


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Ahead of the Game Sophie Hamilton says she has probably never been so busy, and she knows what busy is, with four children aged 3 to 14 while constantly on call as a retained firefighter. Then she set up Peebles Covid-19 Support Group (www.facebook.com/ groups/PeeblesCovidSupport/). “It all started when my sister-in-law, who lives in Nottingham, said she had joined a mutual support group. I Googled it to see if there was one here and there wasn’t, so I decided to start one,” she says. Her Covid-19 Facebook page went live on March 15, eight days before the UK lockdown was ordered. Sophie was ahead of the game. “People just started sharing and sharing the page and offering to volunteer and it just grew from that,” she says. Then Paul Spence from Peebles Resilience Group got in touch. “He asked if we needed a hand so we joined forces, arranging help for people who needed it and matching volunteers with things that were needed.” The group just grew and grew. They printed and distributed 2,000 postcards to reach people who don’t use social media. There are now more than 2,300 members, four administrators and seven moderators. “People wanted to be involved and wanted to help other people,” says Sophie. “We’ve had so many offers of help from people. It’s amazing.” By the end of April 340 volunteers had signed up and nearly 150 had asked for support. The assistance was often simply picking up someone’s medications, doing their shopping, taking around food and walking the dog. On one occasion they helped someone move their furniture from Innerleithen to Peebles. Another time, a volunteer jumped in a car at short notice to help someone with no food because the government service had let them down. More generally the group helps families confused by lack of clear guidance about available assistance or unable to access services they were given information on by letter.

Fund-raising is another element. “We have been paying for people’s shopping when they don’t have access to cash or can’t get to the bank. It means people don’t have to worry. We also raised money to set up our website www. peeblessupport.org and to set up a freephone 0800 009 6709.” The website contains all the available information from the UK and Scottish governments and there are 12 call handlers that take turns to make sure someone’s always there to take a call on the freephone. Sophie says Scottish Borders Council’s community assistance team now often refer callers to the group’s freephone number. “I’m not sure what they would have done without our group,” she says. “That’s fine, but it’s a lot of work, and we want to make sure that nothing slips through the net.” If it’s any kind of help you need, or just want a chat, this group is there to offer support.

Please mention Peebles Life when responding to adverts


Free Food Peebles Community Trust (PCT) has obtained funding from the Scottish Government to supply ready meals to those families in need of assistance during the Covid-19 crisis. The Tontine Hotel will provide cooked and chilled meals to take away, free of charge to customers, on alternate days. The service began on April 29. These meals are intended primarily to help families who are in need of help and support and who must register with the Peebles COVID-19 Mutual Support Group through their website peeblessupport.org/request-support or directly, using the freephone number 0800 009 6709. When completing the form please complete the sections:- “Do you need something else?” - Enter - 'Evening Meal Service' “Any additional info’ providing the number in the household and if there are any vegetarian or food allergy dietary requirements. Families who register will then receive advance notice of the menu and they will be required to notify the supplier of the number of meals required. Full details of how to do this will be supplied on registration. Meals will be delivered to homes between 5.00pm and 6.00pm by volunteers of the Peebles COVID-19 Mutual Support Group. This is to ensure the safety and wellbeing of volunteers, staff and families.” The menu for the first three days – before Peebles Life went to press – is an indication of the range of meals available: Wednesday April 29: Haggis, neeps and tatties; Friday May 1: Chicken and vegetable Thai curry with rice; Sunday May 3: Spaghetti Bolognaise.


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It’s easy to be in

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Supporting Individuals of all ages, Couples, Families, Clinical Supervisees

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Tweeddale Councillors Tatler and Chapman

Councillor Robin Tatler T: 0300 100 0220

E: robin.tatler@scotborders.gov.uk

Councillor Kris Chapman T: 0300 100 0220

E: kris.chapman@scotborders.gov.uk

Constituents wishing to contact Councillors Tatler or Chapman can do so by contacting them on the above details. Visit us online at www.peebleslife.com


A message from Scottish Borders Council Leader Shona Haslam Covid 19 has changed and will change the way that we live for some time to come. We are all missing our family, our friends. Just shaking hands or giving someone a hug when we meet a friend on the street, going to work and doing the normal things that we have taken so for granted. But the restrictions that we have on our lives are saving the lives of many and that is what we have to remember when we are frustrated or fed up. As a council we are doing everything that we possibly can to ensure that the most vulnerable in our communities are receiving the help and support that we need. We are working hand in hand with the Resilient Community group and the Covid-19 Facebook group volunteers to make sure that everyone in our community has the right level of support and that our volunteers are protected. This is not an easy task. In the Borders 2,600 people initially received a shielding letter from the Government. Since then that list has increased to over 4,000. Every single one of these people will receive a phone call from a council staff member to discuss their needs and make sure that they are receiving the support that they need. Whether that be hot meals, frozen meals, access to priority shopping deliveries, a food box, prescription delivery, etc etc etc. We are also making sure that they are accessing any benefits, council tax relief or other financial support should they need it. Our young people at Peebles High have had quite a year of it. My son, who is in S3, said to me the other day “I haven’t really had an S3,

mum”. Being out of school as a result of the fire and now with the virus has impacted hugely on them. With the roll-out of the iPads they are able to continue their education but it is nowhere near normal. Their education has been forefront in the minds of the council and we are so proud of our education team, and of our young people for continuing to learn in what have been incredibly difficult circumstances. We are all trying to find our way through what is likely to be a “new normal” and it is likely that we will be adapting for some time to come. We have no idea at the moment what Christmas is going to look like, or when we can get back to our festivals, theatres, cinemas etc, but the likelihood is that it is not going to be soon. But what we are doing is working. The virus has not taken hold in an out of control way and our NHS is coping. We have capacity at the BGH for what we expect the peak to be and our NHS staff are once again being completely incredible. So, as we stand on our doorsteps on a Thursday night and clap, remember all of those who are sacrificing so much for our community. Our NHS workers, our carers, our teachers, our young people, our cleaners, our bin men, the council staff who are continuing to fix the roads, clear our rubbish and cut the grass. We want to thank all of them, and however long this continues we know that our community will come through this and will, I believe, be stronger as a result. Please, if you need anything then please call the council on 0300 100 1800.


A Spring that went Viral It’s been a strange spring for Standalane, Peebles, resident Wendy Sutherland, a specialist biomedical scientist working for the Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service in Edinburgh. Several weeks off work with the coronavirus ended up with Wendy creating a social media phenomenon that went viral in a completely different way. It all began when Wendy was sent home from work one Monday March 16. She wasn’t worried. She was hot and sweating and had a temperature, but thought she had just got too hot because of the thick jumper she was wearing underneath her white laboratory coat. “I went back the next day and I had a cold and a cough, but I never thought about coronavirus,” she said. “I thought I was just run down, but by two in the afternoon I was exhausted. My husband drove me home and I fell asleep on the way and then went to bed at 6.30pm. In the morning I felt allright but as the day progressed I got worse and worse. I was coughing so much I was out of breath and couldn’t hold a conversation. I got progressively worse over the next few days. By the Saturday I could not move and I was so tired. “I was absolutely exhausted, very lethargic, very tightchested, and for about a week I was struggling to catch my breath and hold a conversation.

I couldn't manage a complete sentence without having a coughing fit. And you can imagine the headaches that come with a persistent cough.” Wendy and her husband Callum, who also works for the National Blood Transfusion Service, have since worked out how she caught the virus. Callum suffers from asthma and had been unwell for some time earlier in the year. Their four-year-old daughter Olivia also felt ill, and Wendy was under the weather with a cold and bad cough for several weeks before being sent home that Monday. They thought nothing of it at the time, but wonder now whether Callum had a mild attack of the virus. “He thinks it took him about two weeks to get over it, and it certainly took me a while too.

I had pneumonia a few years ago and I recognised what I felt with how I felt then. It was on my chest and I was struggling to catch my breath. I was never offered a test because I was at home, but I’m sure it was coronavirus. I was taking cold and flu tablets and drinking lots of water, but nothing was taking it away. I just needed to rest. I just needed to stop, do absolutely nothing, and focus on getting better. “But I never felt at a point where I needed to seek medical attention. I’m a very healthy 30-something year old, and thankfully I have a good immune system. I count myself as one of the lucky ones.” Wendy is convinced she was not the only one at work who contracted from Covid-19: “At work it has come in waves.


Colleagues have been isolating due to partners developing coughs, but also because they developed a variety of symptoms themselves. I was the first at my work to be in isolation, and the first one to return to work. “I believe it isn't just a coincidence that Callum was unwell, then me, and then quite a few people in my laboratory. We try to social distance as best we can, as it is important that we keep the blood transfusion service going. We are all on standby as Biomedical Scientists to go and work in other hospitals up and down the country if required, if the worst happens.” She said she emerged from two weeks of isolation into a different world. “It was weird. I could not believe it. The whole world had changed. I burst into

tears when I saw the Covid-19 signs on the by-pass. I was overwhelmed.” As a non-essential employee, Callum was at home looking after Olivia. As Wendy walked through the front door after her first day back at work she heard music and saw flashing lights under her daughter’s bedroom door. Knowing, as she put it, that she lives with “a bunch of nutters” , she started to film with her mobile phone. She found Callum, wearing a party hat, and Olivia dancing around a decorated room illuminated with flashing lights. It was a doll’s birthday party. “It made my night. I went to get a party frock on and Callum poured me a drink with a cocktail umbrella in it. Things like that changed my mood. It made me realise the world’s not all bad, and it set me up for

the week.” She posted the video onto her Facebook page and it went viral. The video has had thousands of views. Someone from New York contacted her and said he would help her get a good deal if she wanted to sell the rights. The company which made the bed they bought for Olivia’s room has been in touch. “It’s going everywhere,” said Wendy. Fortunately, Covid-19 doesn’t seem to be. “We are going to start testing and we are ready and waiting. We are on standby and expecting to be very busy. And on the bright side, this pandemic has really brought us together as a community, helping those that can't go out and get the essentials that they need.”

James Fleming Plastering & Roughcasting Services Call James on 01721 722783 or 07988 637387


Peebles Churches Together

Support offered During the Coronavirus Emergency St Peter’s Church

St Joseph’s Church

The Pastoral Care Coordinator has been in contact by telephone with members of the congregation who may need help but all are being well supported by family, friends, Red Cross, the Covid 19 mutual support group and other voluntary groups. Church members are involved with these groups and are giving their help through them. Contact Anne Buckingham 01721 722659.

Much of the support we are providing is through individuals volunteering to help others. I would welcome some consideration being given to having an emergency fund, which families could apply to in order to cover gas/electricity and other living costs. Food can be provided by the Peeblesshire Foodbank. Many people have lost their jobs and are struggling to make ends meet while the five week rule for receiving Universal Credit kicks in. Contact Fr Tony Lappin Tel: 01721 720865 Email: stjosephpeebles@ btinternet.com

A written service is sent out by E- mail for each Sunday and paper copies are delivered to those who do not have E- mail facilities.

Peebles Baptist Church

We’ve been pretty active so far during the lockdown in terms of continuing to meet together (albeit via Video Conference) - as well as our normal Sunday morning gathering for worship, we have a brief daily devotional at noon, a bible study group meeting on Tuesday evenings, a social get together around a virtual coffee table on Wednesday afternoons, and weekly prayer meetings on Saturday mornings. On top of that, we’ve been encouraging one another to keep in contact on a one-to-one basis via phone, Skype etc, and we have a daily prayer update on a WhatsApp group. Clearly these are times when people throughout the country are asking searching questions and looking for hope. Jesus provides real answers to those questions, and is the only lasting source of hope for the future. Everyone is very welcome to join in any of our events to find out more. Contact details via our website (peeblesbaptistchurch.org), our Facebook page (@peeblesbaptistchurch) or call Ian Gray on 07881 518854.

Old Parish

Members are accessing support from general community provision such as Red Cross, the Covid 19 mutual support group.

Mass is live-streamed at 10am each morning, available via FaceBook or on YouTube. Night Prayer is live-streamed at 9am available in the same way.

St Andrews Leckie Church

We would love to be able to encourage, support and pray for you in any way that we can. Sunday Services - If you are able, please join us online for a livestream of our Service @ 11am on Sundays through our website standrewsleckie. co.uk .  Previous sermons are also available from our website or YouTube Channel.  If you (or someone you know) can’t access the service online, please try to dial in using your landline phone. Simply dial 0131 460 1196, enter the meeting id ( 452228415# ), you don’t need to put in a participant id so then just press # again. If the number is busy you can also try 0203 481 5237 or 0203 481 5240. Support and Prayer - If you would like support or to have someone to talk with or to pray for you, you can make confidential prayer requests from our website standrewsleckie.co.uk or contact us by email at office@standrewsleckie.co.uk and telephone 01721 723 121 (Mon-Fri 9am to 12noon). Don’t worry about anything, but in all your prayers ask God for what you need, always asking him with a thankful heart. And God’s peace, which is far beyond human understanding, will keep your hearts and minds safe in union with Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7)


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DIRECTORY CITIZENS ADVICE BUREAU PEEBLES 0800 028 1456

COVID-19 PEEBLES MUTUAL SUPPORT 0800 009 6709

To book an appointment locally phone or email: Emma Grigor, Session Supervisor and Administrator on 01721 721722 adminuser@peeblescab.casonline.org.uk

Submit a support request form at¨ www.peeblessupport.org Email: support@peeblessupport.org

FOOD BANK 07413 484174 (emergencies only)

FOOD FOUNDATION 0800 009 6363

Email: info@peeblesshire.foodbank.org.uk Website: peeblesshire.foodbank.org.uk Facebook: Peeblesshire Foodbank

Email: foodfoundationpeebles@gmail.com Facebook: www.facebook.com/ kingsmeadowscatering NeighbourFood Peebles :

PEEBLES COMMUNITY TRUST 07722 808830

PEEBLES SOCIAL WORK 01721 726355

RESILIENCE EDDLESTON EddlePhone Help: 07744 443 8732 Facebook details: bit.ly/ResEddleston Horseshoe Inn: 01721730225

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SCOTTISH BORDERS COUNCIL HELP AND SUPPORT: 0300 100 1800 www.scotborders.gov.uk/coronavirus

GAS

24-Hour Utility Helplines

National Gas Emergency 0800 111999

ELECTRICITY Scottish & Southern Energy Networks 0800 300999 Scottish Power Energy Networks 0800 0929290 National Power Cut Number 105 (works on most phones) or South of Scotland 0800 0929290

WATER Scottish Water 0800 0778778

Profile for Linda Cormack

Peebles Life May 2020 - Peebles Community Trust Covid-19 issue  

Community magazine for Peebles.

Peebles Life May 2020 - Peebles Community Trust Covid-19 issue  

Community magazine for Peebles.

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