The recovery begins…

We will need to continue to be diligent to keep the virus at bay and work hard to support those in the community who need a helping hand

The lockdown that we were faced with in March created a set of circumstances that none of us have faced before, an anxious period which tested the resilience of our community in ways that haven’t been encountered since the Second World War. The response was absolutely inspiring. The sense of goodwill and selflessness that emerged was amazing. The community came together magnificently to support each other at a time when they were being told to stay apart.

There are several organisations within our communities that should get particular praise for their response during this difficult time. The Village Hall Committees in Culrain, Invershin, and Rosehall all supported their communities by ensuring that all residents were looked after and those in isolation were supported through the weeks and months of lockdown. The staff and volunteers of The Bradbury Centre responded quickly and decisively to support the community by providing a delivery service and by providing free meals to those most in need. Our local shops also responded quickly to provide a safe shopping environment, and by developing phone ordering services so that supplies could get to those that needed them most. Let’s hope that they can thrive in the future as more of us look to shop locally.

I’d also like to thank the staff and volunteers of the Trust who worked tirelessly through lockdown to ensure that we could support the community in any way we could. Although The Barn was closed, all of our staff adapted quickly to working from home. This allowed us to coordinate our volunteers, deliver existing projects such as the Community Food Larder and Helping Hand Home Energy Fund, and develop new projects such as sewing scrubs for the NHS, purchasing face masks for the community, and distributing activity packs to our local school children.

This was a very intense but rewarding time, but I have to say that I’m glad to see the back of it, and I hope another lockdown does not affect us in the future, as it has in other parts of Scotland. The Barn has now reopened, with safety measures in place, and it is great to see so many members of the public coming in to see Michelle and Maureen for much needed trims at Hair at The Barn.

It will take a long time for us to fully understand and recover from the ongoing effects of the lockdown period. The financial hardship many will face due to the lack of economic activity will create many issues, the mental and physical health issues caused by the lockdown and the ongoing pandemic will also need attention and effort to overcome.

Hopefully, in time, we will be able to come together again to enjoy ourselves in the ways we have in the past. However, until that time comes, we will need to continue to be diligent to keep the virus at bay and work hard to support those in the community who need a helping hand. The recovery has started, we will get through this. Until then we need to continue to pull together and show the goodwill that we did in lockdown. If we do so we will come out a stronger and more resilient community, ready to face the challenges ahead.

by David Watson, Kyle of Sutherland Development Trust Manager

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