Peer Support Service launched for Social Workers

A free peer support service has been launched for social workers across Scotland.

The Social Work Professional Support Service is designed by and for social workers to support, and be supported by, colleagues across the profession. This free and confidential service offers an essential space for social workers at any stage of their career to talk through personal and professional challenges, and to find solutions and ways forward, supported by a volunteer coach who is also a social worker.  

You can access video or telephone sessions with a trained volunteer coach who understands the challenges faced by the social work community. Social workers who want to support their peers can also volunteer to become coaches themselves and receive training in coaching and mentoring.

The service is being funded by the Scottish Government, and delivered by the Scottish Association of Social Work, in partnership with Strengthening Practice, a relational social care training company with a proven history in coaching and support.  

If you want to find out more about how to access support, or how to apply to become a volunteer coach, follow this link:

Update from North Berwick Compassionate Community

North Berwick Compassionate Community team have amended their plans, as many organizations have during COVID times. The team have worked to develop the opportunities to have the public conversations about ‘death dying and grief’ in our community, alongside the development of an ‘emotional support’ initiative. Below we have shared a little of what we have been doing:

Big Conversation Thread

Armchair online Chats

We have run a series of online armchair chats. The events have been very well attended with between 25-60 people registering for each event. Each online event has a theme linked to the ‘Compassionate Community’ ethos.  Our events have grown creatively, with live, ‘light’ music, poetry readings and book excerpts from local authors. The aim was to support live speaker discussion on some of the issues associated with death, dying, grief and loneliness.  There has been interest from other organizations on our creative approach to online working borne out of Covid restrictions, which has been shared through the ‘Truacanta ‘ network.

  • February 2021 – St Columba Care’s Compassionate Neighbour Project presentation; music performed by musician/singer Harley Louden and readings from professional poet, Hannah Laverey.
  • March 2021- Local solicitor, Dorothy Kellas, discussing legal issues, supported by readings from local author, Isla Aitken and professional singer, Ruth Stapelton
  • April 2021- Presentation by Jude Meryl on Soul Midwives and End of Life Doulas, supported by local author, Lucy Aykroyd and professional singer, Abi Meryl
  • May 2021- Dr Kathryn Mannix- renowned hospice doctor and author of the book ‘With the End in Mind’ and professional singer, Ruth Stapleton

August 2021 Fringe by the Sea

North Berwick Compassionate Communities will host two events:

  1. 12th August 2021 Delighted to welcome back both Dr Kathryn Mannix, hospice doctor and author who will be in conversation with Richard Holloway, the former Bishop of Edinburgh, writer and broadcaster.
  • 11th August 2021 Alan MacLean, Chartered Psychologist specializing in emotional and wellbeing will present two masterclasses on his model for emotional wellbeing for teachers, community workers, young people and the community. The masterclass will be based on his renowned book ‘Knowing and Growing’.

North Berwick Compassionate Community Support Thread    

The second thread is the support thread that aims to support individuals living with a life limiting diagnosis/terminal diagnosis in our community. It was fortuitous that the Compassionate Community team had contact with St Columba’s Hospice Care and realised that collaboration with their pilot Compassionate Neighbours’ project would enable us to take forward our goal of supporting people in our own community. We have now trained six volunteers in the Compassionate Neighbour’s Training, and we have a further six volunteers waiting for training. This will enable us to have a small hub of volunteers in North Berwick to offer support and to do the things that a ‘good neighbor ‘would offer to people at the end of their life. We are almost at the point of accepting referrals

In addition, two of the volunteers have undertaken the EASE training developed by Good Life, Good Death, Good Grief and the Scottish Palliative Care Network.  They are also now trained as facilitators of the EASE training and will commence training in North Berwick mid August 2021. 

We have also been considering the long -term feasibility of the project and are in discussions with the Community Connections Project to integrate our hub of compassionate neighbours into their project. In the meantime, St Columba’s Hospice Care will continue to train and supervise and carry out PVG checks on our hub of volunteers. We are hoping that the Community Connections’ worker will be able to shadow the hospice for a period of time before the project can transitions to be independent of the hospice.

The team would welcome any questions or further discussion on any aspects of the project. We would appreciate discussion with the Reference Group and in particular support in the following areas:

  1. Involvement with local organisations to share information about the project and potential referral routes
  2. A social media and publicity strategy
  3. Advice on developing a referral pathway and appropriate paperwork.
  4. Advice on lone working policy and practice
  5. Support for supervision of the volunteer hub.
  6. Advertising the events at Fringe by The Sea

If any members of the Reference Group would like to be involved please do email for further information or a phone chat.

Susan Woods
Senior Business Support Assistant
North Berwick Community Centre
Telephone: 01620 893056

Find out more about the Herbert Protocol

Herbert Protocol for Dementia in Berkshire

The Herbert Protocol is a nationally recognised scheme focused on people living with dementia who may be at risk of going missing. The main aim of the Herbert Protocol form is that it is completed in advance so that significant information is recorded and readily available for police in the event of someone going missing. It can help the police to find someone who goes missing more quickly.

People who care for someone with dementia can fill out a form with details about the person including where the person grew up,  favourite places, and a picture of the person with consent to share this on social media should it be required.

The form is then kept somewhere safe in the person’s household. If the person goes missing, the form helps police to quickly access important information to help find them. Find out more and download the form

Purple Alert

A community minded app for people with dementia if they are missing

Purple Alert is a free app designed by people living with dementia and carers, Alzheimer Scotland staff, Police Scotland, Social Work, Dementia Friends Scotland, Health and Social Care Partnerships and Telecare Services.

After successfully reach our milestone of 10,000 downloads, Purple Alert has gone through a major design and functionality upgrade. While the main functionality is still helping finding a person with dementia if they’re lost, the new app serves tailored content to users, depending on where you are in Scotland or when you use the app

Further reading

Thank you to all East Lothian’s Shared Lives carers

This week is Shared Lives Week and we are celebrating the contribution our Shared Lived Carers make throughout the year.

Shared Lives is is a community/family based model of care and support that provides long term, short breaks and day support within people’s homes. Arrangements range from offering support for a few hours a week to providing a long term home. Shared Lives Carers are self-employed and receive a fee for their work. Shared Lives is run by East Lothian Health and Social Care Partnership. It is registered with the Care Inspectorate.

East Lothian Integration Joint Board Vice-Chair Councillor Shamin Akhtar said:

‘Most of us think that home, family and friends are the most important things in life and this is also the case for people with support needs. Our Shared Lives service provides this for people who may otherwise live much more isolated and lonely lives. Most people are familiar with the fostering model of care and support for children.  Shared Lives is a similar service which supports adults and older people

‘Our Shared Lives carers open their lives and their homes to people with support needs. They really welcome people into their families, big or small, and provide support, stimulation, affection and fun. They make a huge difference and their contribution has been especially important during the pandemic, in helping people through difficult and worrying times.

‘It’s an incredibly worthwhile thing to do. I know when people read about something like this, they often think “I might like to do this too.” So, if you want to find out more, please do visit our new Shared Lives page to find out from carers and adults who are part of Shared Lives what the scheme means to them.  We’d love to talk to you if you think it’s something that you would like to do.

I can’t thank our Shared Lives carers enough. They are wonderful people and they make a real difference to the people they support and their wider families too. You are fantastic – thank you so much.’

If you would like to speak to someone about Shared Lives, email us at or phone our Shared Lives Co-ordinator 01620 827 280

PS – If you want to find out more about Shared Lives from the point of view of someone who uses the service, see Abby’s interview in the East Lothian Courier, where she talks about Shared Lives and being a Shared Lives ambassador for the national body Shared Lives Plus.

Thank You Day – 4 July 2021

To see the video, click here –

On Sunday 4th July, organisations and individuals across Scotland and the UK are coming together to say Thank You to everyone who got us through the challenges of the pandemic so far.

In Scotland, Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland’s supporters are arranging their own Thank You Day Tartan Tea Parties across the country – and we’d love for our NHS and Social Care colleagues to join us in celebrating the day.

Thank You Day began with a proposal from just 13 individuals – including stroke survivor Debbie Matthews in Perthshire – and is now supported by hundreds of different organisations, celebrities, religious leaders, sports stars, councils, schools, business and communities across the country.

Can you show your support for Thank You Day by:

  • Hosting your own Tartan Tea Party – Sign up to host a Tartan Tea Party (virtually or check local Covid guidelines) and get exclusive recipes from celebrity chef Tom Kitchin to make your party extra special! 
  • Turning social media tartan on Thank You Day! On 4th July, wear tartan, take a selfie with a cuppa and say who you’re thankful to. Remember to share using #ThankYouDay #TartanTeaParty and don’t forget to tag @CHSScotland!

Our aim is for as many people as possible to be involved, in whatever way they would like, so that everyone who deserves it gets a thank you and the whole of the country gets together.  After the challenges of the last 16 months there are so many people across Scotland’s communities who have been doing what they can to make a difference to people’s lives, from NHS workers through to volunteers, and Thank You Day is our chance to celebrate everyone who has made a difference.

Work on Harbours Medical Practice extension set to start in early July

Boost for patients and GPs with Harbours Medical Practice extension date  confirmed | East Lothian Courier

Work on the £4.1m extension and refurbishment of Harbours Medical Practice is getting underway early next month.

The practice was built and completed in 1980.  The new project will see the building being extended to meet the needs of the growing population in the Cockenzie and Port Seton area and the demand for a wider range of services.

The project will see the building of additional Consulting Rooms and Treatment Rooms and the existing building will be refurbished throughout so that clinical services can be delivered in an environment which is appropriate and fit for purpose.

East Lothian Health and Social Care Partnership Operations Manager Iain Gorman said:

‘I know this is something that patients have been looking forward to for some time and it’s great to see things getting underway. We wanted to let people in Cockenzie and Port Seton and our patients in neighbouring villages know that they will be seeing the building work under way very soon. 

‘The practice will continue looking after patients throughout the refurbishment and we hope the work will cause minimal disruption to patients and neighbours. I am really looking forward to seeing the new-look Harbours Medical Practice.

‘This development is very much in line with our continuing drive to provide people with access to a wide range of primary care services locally, bringing care closer to home and helping to relieve the pressure on our services.’

Jane Johnston, Practice Manager at Harbours Medical Practice added:

‘This is a really exciting step and everyone at Harbours is looking forward to having premises which are fit for purpose.’

Rapid test kits rolled out to pharmacies

Expansion has vital role to play in tackling pandemic.

Community pharmacies across Scotland are extending access to rapid coronavirus (COVID-19) testing kits for people without COVID-19 symptoms.

The expansion, which begins today, (Wed 9 June) is aimed at encouraging further uptake of testing among people with no symptoms and finding cases which would otherwise go undetected.

It builds on current efforts in place to improve access to rapid lateral flow devices (LFDs) for people without COVID-19 symptoms, by making it easier for people without access to digital services.

Free packs are available to be collected from participating pharmacies, with each containing seven devices which can provide results in around 30 minutes.

People with symptoms of COVID-19 should not enter pharmacies to collect self-test kits or use a LFD and must instead self-isolate immediately and book a PCR test at NHS Inform.

Heath Secretary Humza Yousaf said: “Testing has a vital role play as we move safely out of lockdown and this rollout of testing kits to pharmacies for the public to drop in and pick up helps build on our strategy to tackle COVID-19.

“It would be a mistake to think that the successful delivery of the vaccination programme means testing becomes less important. The evidence suggests vaccination provides strong protection, but does not yet guarantee you can’t still get the virus and pass it on.

“Around one in three people with COVID-19 do not show any symptoms and rapid lateral flow testing is already helping us identify new cases. The ability to quickly identify new outbreaks and put appropriate measures in place will remain at the heart of our strategy to help break chains of transmission.

“Regular, rapid testing is already available to people in a wide range of settings, including schools and communities where rates remain high and everyone should access testing regularly.”

People can find out which pharmacies are taking part by going to NHS inform, following a link and entering their postcode.

Anyone with symptoms, such as a cough, fever or loss of taste or smell should self-isolate immediately and book a PCR (polymarese chain reaction) test.

Rapid LFD test kits, which can be used from home for people to test themselves twice-weekly, are already available for pick-up without an appointment from many local walk-in, or drive-through test sites, or by ordering online, or by phone.

Professor Harry McQuillan from Community Pharmacy Scotland said: “The community pharmacy network across Scotland provides access to NHS services close to people’s homes at the heart of our communities.

“This distribution service further enhances the ongoing testing programme and builds upon the community pharmacy teams role in supporting Scotland’s public health response to the Covid-19 pandemic.”