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Strathaven and Glassford Community Council grateful for COVID-19 community support initiatives

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The Strathaven and Glassford Community Council (CC) feels that the time is now right to give the Community an update on the support offered in the past few months in the wake of the Covid-19 Emergency. 


The response of our Avondale Community has been outstanding and diverse. The number of people volunteering to help others has been a testimony to a wonderful sense of community wellbeing and the Community Council wishes to thank all those who have been supporting others and all those who have followed the rules of the lockdown to create as safe an environment as possible for all of us.

Below is an approved Strathaven and Glassford Community Council report on Avondale community support since March 2020.

Strathaven and Glassford Community Council has been involved with Banks Renewables and the Kype Muir Partnership since the inception of the development of the windfarm.  At its regular meeting in March, CC members attending were advised that funding was being made available to provide community support during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Initially this amounted to £1000 with Sandford and Upper Avondale Community Council saying it would match this amount as required.

The organiser of Strathaven Community Resilience Group (SCRG) got in touch with M McDonald, a member of the CC, and asked if the CC was organising support. She got in touch with the Secretary of the CC and he explained a meeting to discuss ideas for community support had been organised by Robert and AJ Morris in Roasted the following day. He then invited the organiser of SCRG to that meeting. M McDonald did inform the group’s organiser that up to £2000 could be applied for from the Kypemuir Community Fund. She contacted all members of the CC who agreed to an initial application for £1000 from the CC.  As the SCRG group did not have a bank account, it was subsequently agreed with the CC Treasurer that she would manage any money from the Kypemuir Fund from the CC bank account. 

The meeting was well attended by businesses, groups and individuals.  The following day, as agreed, a WhatsApp group was established with all attendees included, and online discussions started.  The organiser of the SCRG left the group almost immediately (March 18).  The group subsequently contacted David Childs of the Strathaven Evangelical Church and Roddy Gillies of Outreach Community Church, who both agreed to get involved.  The core Zoom meeting attendees were David Childs, Donald Cooper, Sheila Munro Tulloch, Roddy Gillies and Les Hoggan.  The objective was to coordinate community support using funding that eventually amounted to £19,500, comprising funding by Banks Renewables, Falck Renewables, the Renewable Energy Fund and Sandford and Upper Avondale Community council.  All attendees at the original meeting in Roasted were kept up to date with progress through posts on the WhatsApp group and kept in touch with ideas and suggestions. Spending to date on community support projects amounts to over £13,000.

Strathaven and Glassford Community council agreed that funding was only available to what was now called the ‘Working together for Avondale’ Group and to organisations and groups linked to it.  The ‘Working together for Avondale’ group coordinated projects with funding and payment directly to organisations and individuals providing services managed by the Strathaven and Glassford Community Council. 

The group held weekly Zoom meetings with VASLan, Home Energy Scotland, Avondale LEAP, Wester Overton After School Club, Mind Marvels, Heather Bond and was in regular contact with local schools and the Health Centre.  It quickly established an effective range of community support, with reports monthly to the Community Council and also on the website and Facebook.  It had been agreed that the treasurer and secretary were able to make decisions on funding proposals and to report back to the CC for advice if they were unsure whether to proceed.  Regular financial reports were included in the updates as it is crucial that public funds donated to the CC by other organisations is being used properly and is fully audited. 

Activity to Date

Below is a summary of support provided through the fund managed by Strathaven and Glassford Community Council and organised by ‘Working together for Avondale’.

  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.
  2. An approach was made by the group to Sainsbury’s to highlight that Strathaven had its own foodbank, and the manager agreed to install a further collection box for Strathaven’s Foodbank.  Collections have been in place since late March 2020.
  3. A free meal delivery service on Sundays, operated by Outreach Community Church and funded by the Community Council Fund. Over 13 weekends it has delivered 1904 free meals. On Friday May 22nd the OCC also handed out over 30 Youth Parcels.
  4. 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 50 prescriptions.
  5. Avondale Young Farmers has collected and delivered over 250 prescriptions across the community. 
  6. The local production of 275 visors for distribution across our community to groups, individuals and businesses, with a further 30 foam visors ordered due to additional demand. All 275 visors have already been distributed across our community to groups, individuals and businesses in Strathaven and Glassford. 20 of the additional supply will go to the St Andrews Hospice shop in Strathaven to support its reopening. This leaves 10 in stock and available as required. Visors have been distributed to around forty local businesses. In addition a few individuals asked for visors which were delivered to them. The visors were produced in Strathaven as part of a collaboration between Gary Tompsett and the University of Glasgow (which donated the brow frames).
  7. Creative Strathaven made up around 100 Art Kits for distribution across the community.  These were well received with great feedback from families.  A further 110 art kits were prepared and passed to Sandford and Upper Avondale Community Council, which funded these kits from its own funds.
  8. 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 following in subsequent weeks. Twelve families took part in the first session with positive feedback.
  9. 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. Ten nominations were received to recognise the efforts of locals who have gone above and beyond during COVID-19.  Each will receive a £20 vouchers for use in identified small businesses in Avondale.
  11. A donation of £400 has been made to Strathaven in Bloom to fund its work in brightening up Strathaven through floral displays.  The planting has now been completed.
  12. Avondale LEAP is sending out puzzle packs to its client base.  It has also been undertaking prescriptions collection, essential shopping and offering a telephone befriending service.
  13. Floor stickers and COVID distancing posters were made up for local businesses including the hospitality sector with over 100 stickers distributed. To date Covid posters were handed out to around 40 businesses, with floor stickers provided to nearly 20 businesses.  At present we have only 4 stickers in stock. 
  14. Support is being made available for local After-School Clubs to provide sanitiser and dispensers.
  15. Support has been offered to local schools for funded mindfulness sessions.  This has been allocated as committed expenditure until such times as schools are able to welcome visitors onto the premises.
  16. A donation of £250 has been committed to Avondale Young Farmers to recognise the fantastic community effort it has undertaken.

Strathaven and Glassford Community Council considers the work of ‘Working together for Avondale Group’, including Strathaven Business Association, Avondale Young Farmers, Avondale LEAP, Glassford Community Group, Outreach Community Church, Strathaven Evangelical Church, Mind Marvels and Heather Bond to having been crucial in delivering community support, as has the financial support provided by Banks Renewables, Falck Renewables, Renewable Energy Fund and Sandford and Upper Avondale Community Council.  

The community support effort has also included other groups and individuals, including Lawrence Nicholson of Inspirited and Colin McLean of McLeans Gin who worked together to produce significant amounts of hand sanitizer for the community, made possible through crowdfunding.  Local shops and businesses continued to operate on revised business models enabling residents to have access to food and supplies at a time when travel was limited to five miles.  Many residents have undertaken fundraisers including Colin Bryce and Grace McCabe.  Window decoration, school gate decoration, driveway painting, garden ornament repainting have all take place to help support the morale of the community.  Lockdown Galas took place in Strathaven and Glassford. Rhona McLeod sold plants she had grown to raise funds for Strathaven’s Foodbank, with Sainsbury’s also donating £100 of goods to the foodbank collection. There will be many more acts of kindness and community support and we should recognise all of them.

Working together for Avondale has been a great success, but only as part of a wider community effort to ensure our residents were safe and supported.  This has included friends and families doing shopping on behalf of others and being there when needed.  This all demonstrated that Avondale really is a community and that in itself deserves recognition.

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COVID-19 Support

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 strathavencommcouncil@gmail.com

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.

COVID-19 Community Support

Although the Strathaven and Glassford Community Council is currently unable to meet due to COVID-19 restrictions, we are continuing to operate as a Community Council through emails and other discussions.



We are delighted to be involved in the ongoing community support across Avondale. We are managing a fund which includes generous donations from Falck Renewables and Banks Renewables and which is being used by the many groups across our community offering support. It is great to se that they are mostly all working together on a coordinated approach as this, we feel, is the only way any effective community support can be provided.

So far the fund has helped support

  1. Strathaven’s Foodbank, operated by Strathaven Evangelical Church.
  2. A free meal delivery service on Sundays, operated by Outreach Community Church.
  3. Glassford Community Group’s support for frontline workers.
  4. Printing and distribution of a leaflet promoting the work of local community groups and encouraging people in need to get in touch.
  5. The local production of 250 visors for distribution across our community to groups, individuals and businesses.

The visors were produced in Strathaven as part of a collaboration between Gary Tompsett and the University of Glasgow (which donated the brow frames). There being modelled below by Arthur and Emma from Roasted.

Sainsbury’s has set up a trolley for donations to Strathaven’s Foodbank and we would encourage shoppers to donate in this way whilst doing their shopping.

The leaflet below is being distributed across the community to advise of help available.

The groups have established links with the local health centre, VASLan, Home Energy Scotland amongst others. The image below is on the reverse of the leaflet being distributed.

Strathaven Castle

Strathaven and Glassford Community Council held a further meeting with South Lanarkshire Council on the next steps for Strathaven Castle.

The meeting was very positive, with confirmation that further meetings with Historic Environment Scotland had resulted in agreement on the style of fencing to be installed to allow planned remedial work to proceed.

There are three options for fencing, with site visits to take place to finalise plans.  A planning application will then be submitted to SLC as required and work likely to start over the summer of 2020.

Further updates on the proposed dates are likely to be available in around 6 weeks.

 

Strathaven and Glassford Community Council launches two new funds

With the Kype Muir Windfarm now operational and the Kype Muir Community Fund due to be launched from June 26th, we recently held an open day to officially launch the Community Consultation Summary Document and Action Plan.  Click here to download a copy.

The Community Council Micro Grant Scheme is also now live and groups or individuals can apply for up to £500 to support eligible projects or activities.  Click here to download the application form, or here for the Micro Grant Guidelines.

Post Office

After a difficult few weeks it’s looking like the Post Office will reopen in the week beginning March 5th 2018.

A Post Office is a critical service for a rural community, especially with the imminent closure of the RBS branch in the Common GReen, and as a Community Council we are delighted to see progress being made.