New scheme provides emergency help for people experiencing domestic abuse

Ask for ANI

Ask for ANI (Action Needed Immediately) has been set up by the Home Office to provide a discreet way for people living with domestic abuse across the UK to signal that they need emergency help from the safety of their local pharmacy.

Councillor Fiona O’Donnell says:

‘I welcome the introduction of Ask for ANI.

‘Covid 19 has had a lot of effects on the way we live but one of the most worrying is its impact on people living with domestic abuse. If you are afraid of your partner (or ex-partner), particularly now when people are stuck together all the time, it can be extraordinarily difficult and dangerous making a call or text or using your computer or tablet to ask for help when your abuser is literally always looking over your shoulder.

‘Sometimes, the only opportunity to get that help is when you are outside of the house. And, with lots of official buildings closed to the public, the question is where do you go?

‘Well now you can use the Ask for ANI scheme at participating pharmacies to let staff know that that you need an emergency police response or help contacting a helpline or specialist support service. You’ll know it’s a participating pharmacy by the Ask for ANI poster in the window. Some pharmacies will also be offering Safe Places – a room in the pharmacy where you can access information about domestic abuse services that can help. Again, if they are a Safe Spaces pharmacy, they’ll have a Safe Spaces poster in their window. It gives you a safe way of accessing help without attracting unwanted attention.

‘Not all pharmacies are participating, but if you’re a local pharmacy and would like to provide this vital service, you can sign up online. I would urge you to think about it – you’re providing a lifeline for people who have nowhere else that they can safely turn.

‘Domestic abuse is everybody’s business. This is a really good scheme and we can all help by spreading the word.’

Where to go

You can access the Ask for ANI service at any Boots in the UK. Locally, these would be Boots in Haddington, Musselburgh and North Berwick (East Lothian), and in Dalkeith (Midlothian).

Information for local pharmacies wanting to sign up to Ask for ANI

  • Pharmacies can sign up to Ask for ANI by completing this online form. Once registered, pharmacies will be sent a link to posters and training materials which include an animated video explaining how the scheme works, Ask for ANI implementation guidance and introductory guidance on domestic abuse.
  • Once registered, pharmacies will be sent a link to posters and training materials which include an animated video explaining how the scheme works, Ask for ANI implementation guidance and introductory guidance on domestic abuse.

COSLA Elected Members’ briefing 20 January 2021

Key messages

Read the full briefing here

Financial aid for care-experienced people of all ages

From Maureen Allan, CEO, VCEL

Hi All,

Who Cares? Scotland have received some funding from the Scottish Government to offer financial aid for Care Experienced People to relieve fuel, material, and food poverty.

They can support people to get immediate help for essential items such as food, heating, clothing, nappies, bedding, furniture and while goods.

 The application form is online at

There is a flyer that can be used to promote the offer.

What does ‘Care Experienced’ mean?

The term Care Experienced refers to anyone who has been or is currently in care or from a looked-after background at any stage in their life, no matter how short, including adopted children who were previously looked-after.

This might include kinship care; looked after at home; residential care; foster care; secure care; or adoption.  


Maureen Allan | Chief Officer
Volunteer Centre East Lothian
Email   |
Web    |
Phone  | 01875 615 423 | 07947 795067
56 High Street, Tranent EH33 1HH

Covid-19 Vaccine – Information for Unpaid Carers

From Kirsteen Powell at Carers of East Lothian

The Scottish Government has confirmed that unpaid carers aged 16 plus will get priority access to the Covid-19 vaccine. National Carer Organisations have produced a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) for unpaid carers to explain what we know currently: Covid-19 Vaccine – Carers FAQ

Carers aged 16 to 65 are in priority group 6. The Scottish Government will write to them (via local carers centres etc.) with details of how to book their appointment. Carers aged 65 plus will be prioritised on the basis of their age (priority groups 2 to 5) and will be contacted by the NHS regarding vaccinations.

Carers will be identified in a variety of ways including via local carers centres such as Carers of East Lothian (CoEL). Please do not contact your GP surgery about accessing the Covid-19 vaccine unless they contact you first or you have received a letter from the Scottish Government or the NHS instructing you to do so.

If you are an unpaid carer living in East Lothian, please check CoEL have your up-to-date contact details. You can call us on 0131 665 0135 or email us at to make sure you are registered on our database. You can also complete a self-referral form on our website: Online Referral Form

Further information on unpaid carers and the COVID-19 vaccination is available on the  Scottish Government’s COVID-19 advice for unpaid carers webpage. You can also call the Coronavirus Vaccination Helpline on 0800 030 8013 (available 8am – 8pm, 7 days a week).

ELTRP online Burns Night!

ELTRP will hold an ‘Online Burns Supper’ event on Thursday, 28th January 2021 at 6.30pm via Zoom.

This event has been organised to consult tenants and residents on East Lothian Council’s proposed Rent Increase.

Celebrating communities

How communities across East Lothian (and beyond) worked together during lockdown so everyone got help and knew they mattered and were not alone…

From Sue Northrop

Here is a quick update about the first Celebrating Communities conversation.   I thought you might welcome a short update. You are very welcome to join in any future conversation and any workshops or events that happen.  And to chip in.

We will be spreading the news more widely as we get up and running and you know how to contact us.

What happened

Thirty-nine people joined the conversation and around another 10 people were keen to be involved but unable to join us this time.  After we’d met each other and said hello (much easier with a cup of coffee and cake in the real world!), we talked in small groups, sharing ideas and projects that inspired us and what we think needs to happen next.  We brought those conversations together and compared notes. You can see what came up with in the updated slides – click on the links below to see..  We’ll circulate the recording when we’ve had time to edit it a bit – we are learning!! 

When we next meet again…

We agreed to meet again and that we’ll have a fortnightly Thursday morning drop ins and look at sessions at other times.  No commitments required, there are only opportunities. 

The second conversation will be on Thursday January 28th 10.30 am on Zoom. Everyone is welcome.  If anyone wants to suggest or even better offer (!) a topic/theme/workshop for 28/1 or anything else you think folks will be interested in, please let us know.

Register in advance for this meeting 

Getting to know each other a bit better

We’ve done a very short Survey Monkey to find out what we each bring to and what we’d like to get out of our collaborations, plus a chance to share website and social media contacts.

Find out more about CAPS new Drug and Alcohol Advocacy Service

From Jane Crawford at CAPS


CAPS Independent Advocacy warmly invites you to a webinar to learn more about our new Drug & Alcohol Advocacy service.

The webinar will be held on Zoom on Wednesday 27th January, 2-3pm.

This short session would be of benefit to anyone working with people affected by drug or alcohol use who might be signposting people to advocacy in the future. There will be a presentation from the CAPS team about our new project. Come along and find out more about what independent advocacy is and how we can help.

There will also be a presentation from AdvoCard, another independent advocacy organisation who offer a similar service in Edinburgh. You will hear about their experiences and some examples from their work so far that illustrate the real difference that independent advocacy can make to people using drugs or alcohol.

There will also be opportunity to ask any questions you have to our presenters about independent advocacy.

The Zoom Link for the webinar is:

Meeting ID: 882 2947 0685
Passcode: 825225

Download the webinar leaflet here.

Please also let John Player know if you have any queries on

We hope to see you there on the day!

Best wishes


Jane Crawford
Chief Executive Officer
CAPS Independent Advocacy
Old Stables
Eskmills Park
Station Road
EH21 7PQ
phone: 0131 273 5116

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