COSLA Elected Members Bulletin

From Stephanie McCourt, COSLA

Welcome to the latest Elected Members Bulletin, your weekly update from COSLA covering issues related to COVID-19.

Read the latest COSLA Elected Member Briefing here.

BBC Children in Need and the Youth Futures Foundation

From Maureen Allan, Interim Chief Officer, East Lothian Volunteer Centre

Charities that work to improve the employment prospects of disadvantaged children and young people are being invited to apply for a share of £6m of funding. 

The Inspiring Futures programme is being funded by £3m from both BBC Children in Need and the Youth Futures Foundation, and will offer grants of up to £80,000 over the next 18 months.

The funding is open to UK charities, social enterprises and voluntary organisations that support children and young people to develop skills, gain experience and, ultimately, find employment.

The funding is open to projects that support people aged between 10 and 24 in England, and between 10 and 18 in Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland. 

The funders said they wanted to encourage applications from organisations working with black, Asian and minority ethnic children and young people. 

Simon Antrobus, chief executive of BBC Children in Need, said:

“We want to ensure that all children and young people are able to thrive at every stage of their lives and have the chance to achieve their full potential. 

“This includes addressing the additional impact Covid-19 will have on their future prospects and employability.”

Anna Smee, chief executive of the Youth Futures Foundation, said:

“With nearly a million young people facing unemployment, this is a crucial time to provide additional support to organisations delivering activities that enable young people to achieve their goals and overcome the barriers they face.”

For more information and to apply click here. Applications will close at 11:30am on 31 July.

Meet Jane Sutherland from CWIC Mental Health line

Jane says:

‘Ihave worked as a Mental Health Occupational Therapist for 26 years in a variety of settings across Edinburgh. I am delighted to be working in East Lothian CWIC service now.

‘I was involved in setting up the Mental Health Information Station in Edinburgh where people can drop in to access mental assessment, advice and signposting to appropriate services. 

‘The service we are offering here in East Lothian is similar in that people can have access to our service at an early stage when they need it.’

More info about the CWIC Mental Health line here.

Great support from Neighbourhood Networks

By Annette Allan, Community Care Worker, ELHSCP

Neighbourhood Network members have been informed that Neighbourhood Networks can now offer Social Distance local walks on a one to one basis. We have, since Phase 2, encouraged East Lothian members who can utilise the two meter social distance spacing without observation to meet up for a social distance walk. This has been taken up by two members from the Tranent Network and two members from the Haddington Network.

Community Link workers have been on social distance one-to-one walks with several East Lothian members and are still offering shopping and prescription runs for members who are still unsure of getting back out and about and for those shielding.

The organisation has provided all our members across Scotland with two reusable facemasks in preparation for the further relaxation of Lockdown restrictions and to help increase their confidence with getting safely back out and about. The members have let us know that they really appreciated this. The majority of the East Lothian Members took part in the Soupathon held by Neighbourhood Networks on the 11th of June.

All of the members taking part were delivered a very ample package of ingredients with soup making instructions for those not able to take part in the live Facebook demonstration. The demonstration was recorded and can be accessed through Neighbourhood Networks Facebook page. The Soup pack also contained a few extra sweet treats and general grocery items not required to make soup, such as eggs and biscuits. In total over 150 soup packs were delivered to members throughout the organisation’s networks. The East Lothian member’s feedback that they were delighted with the soup packs and enjoyed making the soup.

There was also a virtual sunflower growing competition, which people enjoyed.

Neighbourhood Networks is slowly encouraging the members to become more digitally aware which is proving a challenge in the network. They are hoping that the newsletter being delivered to all members at the end of the reporting period, featuring a member from the Haddington Network digital progress, will encourage a greater uptake of interest for the other members.

Links have been established with Inclusive Images Scotland. An eight-week course is being held starting in July for members interested in photography and is run by Charlie Sherry. Inclusive Images is run by Charlie Sherry who is an accredited PhotoVoice trainer. The focus of the workshops will be what opportunities and/or challenges has the Covid 19 Pandemic offered us all. This will further enhance the new found digital skills of our members who also have a love of photography.

Neighbourhood networks have also provided other supports during lockdown, for example:

  • 1-1 telephone contact
  • Supporting service users to understand COVID 19 guidance
  • Support with welfare concerns/pip assessments and appeals
  • Shopping and prescription runs
  •  Vital Support to individuals with Mental illness
  • Two reusable facemasks
  • Support to purchase mobile devices

Crisis funding for people with prepayment meters who are struggling with rising energy costs

From Morag Cockburn, Senior Partnerships Officer, Home Energy Scotland


We recognise that householders may be struggling with their fuel bills at this time, perhaps staying at home more than usual or experiencing reduced incomes – we can help. Our free, impartial energy advice service from Scottish Government is open, with our telephone advisors working safely from home to help householders worried about their energy bills or struggling to stay warm.

In particular we have access to newly available crisis funding for people with prepayment meters who are struggling with rising energy costs. Please share this with your contacts but we would really appreciate if you don’t make the following information public, as eligibility will be assessed by our advisors alongside the other advice they provide. The funding comes in the form of top-up vouchers – the advisors will have a chat to the client and provide information and support with managing energy use and if they are eligible they will be referred to receive a code which can be redeemed at PayPoint / Post Office.

If you want to share the information via your networks, we suggest this messaging:

We’re working in partnership with Home Energy Scotland, the energy advice service funded by the Scottish Government. Home Energy Scotland provide support for households with prepayment meters, including access to crisis funding. We can refer you to Home Energy Scotland, especially if you’re finding it hard to stay warm and keep up with your bills or you can call free yourself on 0808 808 2282.

We also have a useful flyer that you can download here.

If you have any questions, would be interested in being set up on our online referral portal or would like hard copies of the attached leaflet please get in touch.

Many thanks,


Morag Cockburn
Senior Partnerships Officer
Home Energy Scotland | 36 Newhaven Road | Edinburgh | EH6 5PY
| Mobile 07554 881 501 | Direct Dial 0131 468 8659

For updates, information and advice on energy efficiency in the South East like our Facebook page or follow us on Twitter.

Connecting generations online. Safely.

From Loreen Pardoe, Support from the Start

Generations Working Together is the nationally recognised centre of excellence supporting the development and integration of intergenerational work across Scotland. They have produced a new guide to connecting generations online safely.

Some background

As the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on towns and cities across the UK intensified, the need to link business support to community need has never been more urgent. To meet this demand Business in the Community (BITC) formed the National Business Response Network which matched community needs with the right business support.

BITC Scotland sought out local needs such as those faced by Generations Working Together (GWT). BITC took the time to understand the need in detail and assessed the Business offers of support to make the most appropriate match.

Verizon came to the fore as a result of their strong social responsibility and philosophy, providing support to GWT to fully understand online safeguarding. This was our starting point and Verizon’s capability and enthusiasm to assist GWT flourished, one demonstration of the outcomes is this guide to support the fundamental work of GWT.

Read the guide here.

Edinburgh and Lothians Health Foundation supports outdoor wellbeing space for staff at East Lothian Community Hospital

Staff at East Lothian Community Hospital now have access to an attractive and comfortable outdoor space thanks to charitable funds received from Edinburgh and Lothians Health Foundation.

Before the new benches and parasols were installed, staff would either stand during breaks or sit on the ground if they wanted to grab some fresh air. Now, thanks to the funding provided, they have access to a more comfortable and welcoming outdoor space to rest, relax and take some much needed time out from long and busy shifts, while also still being able to adhere to social distancing requirements.

‘The health benefits of spending time in the fresh air are wide ranging, from helping to reduce stress and fatigue to improving mood and reducing heart rate. In fact, spending just 20 minutes outdoors is enough to spark a positive change.

‘Staff wellbeing is at the heart of everything we do at Edinburgh and Lothians Health Foundation, so we were delighted to be able to support East Lothian Community Hospital with their wellbeing project. Making the most of these outdoor spaces is not only important during these times of increased stress and pressure, but is also something from which staff can benefit beyond the pandemic.’

Edinburgh and Lothians Health Foundation’s Green Health Programme Manager, Ian Mackenzie

And here are some of the reactions to the new facility

‘Thank you so much Edinburgh and Lothians Health Foundation for supporting this wonderful facility for our hard-working health and social care staff. 

‘Promoting staff health and wellbeing is key to all that we do in the Partnership and the rooftop garden is a fantastic resource for people needing to take a break and reset during the course of the working day.

‘I know that it’s much appreciated and our staff based at East Lothian Community Hospital are already making good use of it.’

Councillor Fiona O’Donnell, Chair of East Lothian Integration Joint Board

‘We are very lucky to have this lovely new building with designated outdoor staff areas and fabulous views over the Lammermuirs.

‘During the Covid-19 restrictions, we thought it was important for staff wellbeing to have some areas within the hospital where they could get away from their clinical area, taking time for some self care on their breaks, especially during the lovely weather we had.

‘Unfortunately there was not enough furniture for all staff to sit and enjoy this so we applied to Edinburgh and Lothians Health Foundation and they kindly funded these picnic tables and benches.’

Suzanne Walker, Community Psychiatric Nurse at East Lothian Community Hospital

‘I am so grateful to the Foundation for the kind donation of the benches. We are so lucky to have such a beautiful outdoor space at East Lothian Community Hospital, and all the staff are really feeling the benefit of being able to sit comfortably outside during breaks.

‘In fact, one staff member commented to me that they had already had a socially distanced team catch up on the benches.’

Community Clinical Lead Physiotherapist, Victoria Houston

Beavering away for the Abbey

Laura Scott our Activities Co-ordinator at the Abbey has sent us this YouTube link from North Berwick Beavers.

The film was made by Beavers leader Laura Hill.

Laura says:

‘Beavers will now be sending us Origami Fish and we are creating an Under The Sea mural which these will be added to, with photos as we progress. Very pleased with this. 👍

‘The Great Indoors Badges are the Scouting Association’s response to enable them to stay engaged with their groups during the Covid pandemic. It fits in well with their regular community engagement themes because it encourages Beaver groups to find out about members of their community and how they have dealt with Covid.

‘And also, by kindly sending us origami fish, they are demonstrating a new skill they have learnt, to be used in our collaborative mural.’


North Berwick Day Centre Newsletter No. 4

From Ian Donald

Welcome to the latest North Berwick Day Centre newsletter.

Can I draw your attention to page 3 where there is a picture and short story of a young girl who is helping out at the centre with baking for members instead of helping abroad during her gap year which was cancelled due to COVID; so there is a silver lining after all!

Many thanks

Ian Donald
North Berwick Day Centre