Changes afoot at STRiVE

We received this letter from Tom Shearer today outlining changes to the management structure and new primary point of contact at STRiVE.

Dear Partner

STRiVE would like to advise/inform you that it will begin the search for a new Chief Officer later this year as the current CEO Eliot Stark and his Depute Linda McNeill leave on the 31st March 2020 by mutual agreement.

This significant change was part of a planned re-structure of STRiVE approved by the Board, and despite the COVID -19 crisis it was felt important that the planned changes progress. Again this was mutually agreed by the CEO, Depute and the Board.

STRiVE will commence an extensive and inclusive recruitment process in due course but in the meantime the Board are delighted to announce that Maureen Allan has accepted an invitation as Chief Officer on an interim basis to allow enough time for a robust recruitment process to be progressed. Therefore until such time as a permanent appointment is made Maureen will be STRiVE’s primary point of contact.

Maureen has been a member of the STRiVE team since 2016 and has managed the Community Links and Community Support Services since 2018.

A retired nurse, Maureen has extensive business experience previously owning and managing an independent Care at Home company.

She has previously held a number of roles including Chair of Dementia Friendly Tranent, a member of the Community Council, Area Partnership, Chair of the Health & Wellbeing Group and a position on the Integration Joint Board. She continues to be a “community activist” within East Lothian.

The Board of STRiVE looks forward to working with Maureen as we progress over the weeks and months ahead with other phases of restructure plans. The Board are anxious to ensure that STRiVE is well positioned to perform a pivotal and constructive role in support of East Lothian’s amazing third sector and are confident that the planned changes ahead will secure that objective.

Can I take this opportunity to wish you all the very best for your organisation and your  families over the weeks and months ahead as the Country battles against the COVID-19 crisis.

Kind regards,

Tom Shearer MBE

Board Chairman

A word from the East Lothian Welfare Rights Team

The Welfare Rights team can provide advice and support to anyone in need.

Welfare Rights Officers work with many local residents to provide specialist welfare- related advice.  They can establish if there is an underlying entitlement to a wide range of benefits and other forms of financial assistance, including grants and hardship payments.  We can also help customers to apply. 

We also have a Macmillan Welfare Rights Officer who works with people and their families affected by cancer to make sure they are claiming all financial assistance available.  We already have links in place with the NHS and the Social Care Partnership.

Although we have suspended all face-to-face contact, our team is working from home and providing advice over the phone or by email. 

We have also developed some new resources to help people fill in forms, primarily around disability benefits.

You can find out more about what we do at  

Weekly update from Alison

Week ending 27 March 2020

I want to update you on what the Partnership has achieved this week and to thank you for everything you are doing to make this happen.

The Tactical Team, coordinating our response, has been set up in East Lothian Community Hospital (ELCH) in the Mental Health Tribunal Suite and there will be soon be a central phone number to call – watch this space! We are setting up an on-call rota for Senior Managers so there are decision-makes available 24/7.

Social workers are now locality-based at Bleachingfield, Randall and the Brunton. The Duty Team is doing a great job in managing referrals and enquiries.

The Mental Health Team are working at home reaching out to clients in the community by phone. 

Our TEC Team is working with service-users to look at how TEC can support service-users and help them to avoid feeling isolated.

Day Centres, Lunch Clubs and Adult Resource Centres are closed, and we are now supporting service-users differently. Our Meals at Home service continues.

Teams at ELCH are focusing on getting services delivered into the community.

The Community Rehab Team has closed its MSK clinics, but is continuing to work with patients by phone and looking at how they can support other workstreams.

In primary care, we are working on the development of a local COVID Hub at Musselburgh Primary Care Centre and working on a Practice buddying scheme to share the workload between practices, if necessary.

We are liaising with community pharmacies and practices where there are shortages of delivery drivers. 

What you have raised with us

I know that there are issues across Scotland with PPE and I am working with the Scottish Government to address this for East Lothian staff.

Key Worker status

All frontline staff in the Partnership are key workers and I know that social care staff have been having difficulties in getting local supermarkets to recognise this. This is not on, so we have raised the matter with Health and Social Care Scotland and the Scottish Government.  In the meantime, please email with any individual instances of being turned away and I will take it up for you.

Thank you for all your work this week, have as good a weekend as you can, and keep safe.


Media contact

One of our care workers was approached for comments and photographs this morning by a national newspaper.

There are lots of freelance journalists looking for stories just now, so if someone approaches you, please ask them to contact me instead of giving an interview yourself.

Jane Ogden-Smith
Communications and Engagement Manager
East Lothian Health and Social Care Partnership
Direct Line 01620 827 755
Mobile 07703 191 218

It’s really important that all media enquiries come to me and I can establish whether they are genuine and whether the Partnership wants to engage with them or not. I can also find out if you actually want to be interviewed, photographed etc and if not, find a work-around.

It’s very naughty of them to take advantage of you when you are working and unprepared (and in this case without the opportunity to freshen up make-up and run a comb through their hair!) So, let me know if you are approached and I’ll take it from there.

Many thanks


Carers of East Lothian Community Resilience Contacts

Andrew Tweedy, director of CoEL writes

Dear All

My colleague Kirsteen has been collating information about local resilience resources in East Lothian which CoEL is using to connect carers to local support as necessary.  While there our focus is on support that would be relevant for carers, we wanted to share this with others as it will be of relevance to all of us.  It is also a live document so please do let my colleague Kirsteen know if there are other groups who should be included or any other issues and if you have your own listing please let us know and we will try to collate them all.  It is worth flagging that groups noted in Red are “official” groups covered operating under cover of East Lothian Council insurance – others are informal groups who have come together in response to Coronavirus.

CoEL Community Resilience Contacts

FYI – CoEL is continuing to support carers locally but we are working from home and not doing visits.  Our contact details remain unchanged as all phones are forwarded onto staff mobiles etc.

Let us know if there is anything more CoEL can do to support and we will send updated versions of this document as appropriate.


Andrew Tweedy
CEO – Carers of East Lothian (CoEL) Directline:  0131 653 1056
Mobile:  07842 827362

Dealing with our frustrations offline

I know we all have our frustrations to bear, but can I ask that if you have an issue with anything work-related, your deal with it offline and through the appropriate channels, for example, your line manager. Or you can always email me direct at

Please don’t try to resolve things on social media. We should always be respectful towards our partner organisations and remember that we are all in this together.

Nuff said.


Update on ELC Services including Children’s Hubs

Children’s Hubs

East Lothian Council is continuing to support our children and young people during the national closure of schools.

You will be aware that, in order to meet the emergency learning and childcare needs of key workers, we are operating six Children’s Hubs.

The Hubs will provide emergency childcare for children with at least one parent who is a key worker and who don’t otherwise have another adult at home to care for them.

Demand for places is vastly exceeding availability. In Phase 1 of this process, we have used information provided by parents/carers to identify those who are key workers in accordance with definitions provided by the Scottish Government, with a particular focus on ‘Category 1’ workers.

Parents in this category who have been allocated places for their children were being notified individually of the arrangements being made for their children by 24 March 2020). It is anticipated that places for these identified children will begin on Wednesday, 25 March 2020.

We are also reviewing the requirements of vulnerable children and children with additional support needs.

Next, we will move to Phase 2 of allocating places where, if available in the Hubs, we may be able to allocate places to some parents who fall into other employment categories. If successful, these parents will be notified by East Lothian Council that a place can be provided in a Children’s Hub for their child by Friday, 27 March. These Phase 2 places will start on Monday, 30 March 2020.

We will notify parents if we are unable to provide childcare places in the week beginning Monday, 30 March 2020. It is essential that parents notify us if they no longer require a place.

Each Hub will be overseen by a leadership team including a Head Teacher, supported by teaching, other specialist and support staff. At the early stages, Hubs will be open from 9am until 3pm with extended day provision being planned from next week.  We will also provide food for our children in the Hubs.

Free school meals

At this stage, free school meals for those eligible can be collected from one of the Children’s Hubs mentioned above. As we are seeking to make this as easy as possible – particularly for those living in outlying communities – we will be reviewing this process ahead of next week.

Remote learning

We are maximising the use of digital technology to support learning for children who are being cared for at home. This includes use of online tools which children and teachers can use to provide learning for children at home through Google G-Suite. Teachers are posting learning assignment tasks for children, including active learning opportunities which they can undertake with their families.

We hope there will also be opportunities to participate in live lessons and we are working to support staff on this. These tools can be accessed through tablets, smartphones and home computers. We have provided Chromebooks for children without access to such devices at home.

Connected Communities Bases

We are planning to run bases which will be used to support local community resilience arrangements to help the most vulnerable people living in East Lothian’s communities. Across the county, volunteers within our communities are already providing a significant amount of help and support for neighbours and fellow residents. The bases will provide resources that they can draw upon. Resilience groups will be contacted directly with details on how they can use these bases. Further information will be provided shortly.

Volunteer register

A new volunteer registration service is being established to connect well and willing volunteers with their local resilience group efforts.

The volunteer registration service will help people in communities who are not already connected to a community group/organisation, to provide details of their willingness to participate in volunteering country-wide.  Again, more details will be provided in due course.

Customer Access Points

For essential customer enquiries only, Customer Access Points will be operating at the following locations:

  • Brunton Hall, Musselburgh – 10am to 12 noon and 2pm to 4pm (Monday to Friday)
  • John Muir House, Haddington – 10am to 12 noon and 2pm to 4pm (Monday to Friday)

In the interests of everyone’s wellbeing, visitors will be asked to ‘self screen’ on arrival and maintain social distance.

Public toilets

All of our public toilets have been closed. Available staff are being redeployed to support building deep cleans. This approach will enable deep cleaning to be carried out at regular intervals.

Changes to waste and recycling services

From today (Wednesday, 25 March) collection of both the green and blue recycling boxes will resume across East Lothian, on normal calendar dates. We are also continuing to collect non recyclable waste fortnightly, as per calendars. Brown bins for garden waste collections remain suspended until further notice.

If this situation changes due to staff shortages during the current Coronavirus crisis, we will issue further updates via our website and social media. As of yesterday (Tuesday 24) all four of our Recycling Centres are closed until further notice.