In March 2020 the Strathaven and Glassford Community Council agreed to be a fundholder for any funds donated to help provide community support within its area, available to all groups working under the banner ‘Working together for Avondale’. Initial funding came from Banks Renewables.. This was extended to providing support across Avondale as a whole following the award of funding from Falck Renewables and subsequently from the Renewable Energy Fund and from Sandford and Upper Avondale Community Council.
COVID-19 support in Avondale
The group ‘Working together for Avondale’ was formed to coordinate community support across communities in Strathaven, Glassford, Chapelton, Sandford, Gilmourton and Drumclog. Groups involved include
- Strathaven Evangelical Church Foodbank
- Outreach Community Church
- Strathaven and Glassford Community Council,
- Strathaven Business Association,
- Glassford Community Group,
- Avondale Young Farmers,
- Mind Marvels,
- Heather Bond,
- Creative Strathaven CIC and
- Avondale LEAP.
The groups have been working closely with VASLan and Home Energy Scotland, with all initiatives funded by Strathaven and Glassford Community Council fund, using donations from Sandford and Upper Avondale CC, Banks Renewables and Falck Renewables. Last week it was also confirmed that a grant of £5,000 has been awarded through the Renewable Energy Fund.
The groups have helped in a number of ways, all funded centrally from the CC Fund.
1. Strathaven’s Foodbank, operated by Strathaven Evangelical Church has been delivering a minimum of 15 food parcels per week. It is trying to reach out to as many people in need as possible. If you are in need or know someone in need please get in touch by calling one of the numbers on the leaflet below. In addition to providing food parcels, the Evangelical Church is also the contact point for those in need of energy card top-ups.
2. A free meal delivery service on Sundays, operated by Outreach Community Church and funded by the Community Council Fund. Over 7 weekends it has delivered almost 1100 free meals. On Friday May 22nd the OCC also handed out over 30 Youth Parcels.
3. Glassford Community Group’s support for frontline workers has seen 15 nominees awarded £25 vouchers for the Steayban, part funded from the CC Fund. It has also collected and delivered around 40 prescriptions. In addition it carried out an emergency eye check and organised protective glasses for the woman. (One of the members is an optometrist.)
4. Avondale Young Farmers has collected and delivered over 200 prescriptions across the community. Annie Bryson said: “Avondale Young Farmers committee and members have now delivered more than 200 prescriptions to elderly & vulnerable people in Strathaven and the surrounding areas. We would like to thank everyone for their patience, and kind donations for the food bank in return. We are going to continue this service for as long as it is required within the community, but ask that you can give as much notice as possible for deliveries. Thank you to both the Common Green and Green Street pharmacies for their cooperation.”
5. The local production of 250 visors for distribution across our community to groups, individuals and businesses. Over 100 visors have already been handed round businesses in Strathaven and Glassford with more available as required. The visors were produced in Strathaven as part of a collaboration between Gary Tompsett and the University of Glasgow (which donated the brow frames).
6. Creative Strathaven is making up around 100 Art Kits for distribution across the community. These will be free to families and if successful a second round of art kits may be distributed. These will be distributed from the Frets Creative hub at 2 Barn Street in late June.
7. Mind Marvels is providing mindfulness support for families and Primary School children, whilst Heather Bond is offering similar support for adults and adolescents, through group online sessions or one-to-one. The first Mind Marvels session took place on Friday June 19th with more to follow. Twelve families took part in the first session with positive feedback.
8. A Book Swap was set up at a café in the town centre, involving two boxes, one for adults and one for children. This has proven to be very popular and operates on the basis of take a book, bring a book.
10. A donation of £400 has been made to Strathaven in Bloom to fund its work in brightening up Strathaven through floral displays.
11. Avondale LEAP is sending out puzzle packs to its client base.
12. There are plans to fund a community tree for Strathaven Park to commemorate the efforts of the community and the level of community spirit demonstrated. This covers not only the groups involved, frontline workers, shopkeepers, etc but also for example the wonderful efforts of both Strathaven and Glassford Gala Committees in organising Lockdown Galas, scarecrow competitions in Sandford, Chapelton kids decorating the school and doing plantings in the park, etc. There are simply too many to mention them all.
13. The communities across Avondale have been asked to nominate frontline workers, neighbours, family, friends who have gone above and beyond during COVID-19 to provide support. Up to fifty nominated will be given a £20 voucher to spend in a range of shops and businesses across Avondale. to nominate someone either send a message on the Discover Strathaven Facebook page or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Support is coordinated using a weekly group Zoom meeting and regular interim Zoom meetings to discuss specific initiatives as required. It operates a WhatsApp group to keep everyone up to date between meetings.
The coordinated community support effort of the ‘Working together for Avondale’ group and others working independently were recognised recently when Dr Lisa Cameron submitted and Early Day Motion to the Westminster parliament recognising the superb work to provide support for those who need it during COVID-19.