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Updated: 23 July 2020

HUGS, The SHED and Walkerburn's response to Coronavirus

Walkerburn's response to the coronavirus outbreak has been remarkable showing the great community spirit which exists in the village.  A group has come together under the leadership of Denise Hanks, ably assisted by Stu Waterston, who normally works as the chef at the award winning Windlestraw boutique hotel, and a host of assistants preparing food and delivering meals around the village.  Each week there are two meals available and currently there are about 50 meals being delivered on each occasion. Read more about Food HUGS below.

There is also the SHED outside the village hall where those who need extra suplies can go and help themselves to what others have put there to assist their fellow villagers.  The SHED is overseen by a team managed by Aimee Scwartz.   Read more about the SHED below

Coordinating the response of the village is Heather Martin who leads a large group of volunteers who will shop, collect medicine, or just offer a chat on the phone for those who are self isolating in the village.

Food HUGS - Healthy Uncomplicated Great Scran! 
- an update

HUGS - Healthy Uncomplicated Great Scran is for anybody in need in Walkerburn, who is self isolating, or in financial difficulty due to Corona Virus.  As the lockdown has been eased and going out and about has become less restricted, the service is changing from Tuesday 28th July.  This notice from Denise Hanks, the organiser of HUGS explains:

Food HUGS updateVE day HUGS meals ready for delivery

Thank you everybody for completing the questionnaire and for the wonderful comments, we at Food HUGS really appreciate them.

After careful consideration we have decided to continue with a reduced weekly Food HUGS on Tuesday which will consist of a main plus surprise pudding. We think that keeping Food HUGS going albeit a slimmer service, would be better than shelving the project altogether. Especially as the predictions are that there may be mass unemployment with severe financial implications for many families when the furlough scheme ends in October and a possible second wave of Covid in the winter.  By continuing Food HUGS we can respond quickly to any situations that may arise in the future, because our established contacts with Fareshare and Asda, who donate the majority of food that we use, are still in place, Also funders are more likely to support projects with a proven track record such as Food HUGS

Stu has very kindly agreed to continue to advise Food HUGS in all thingsChef Stu and a heloer food related, which is a huge bonus.  Food HUGS will be looking to increase our volunteer team so we can cover summer holidays.  Also in an effort to get more people to access Food HUGS, our menus will shared  on facebook as well as on the village website and any extra portions of Food HUGS  made will be put in the sharing SHED.

Denise and HUGS ready to be deliveredAt the moment we have decided not to charge for Food HUGS as we try to keep our costs to a minimum by incorporating the donations we receive from Fareshare and Asda in our menus. However any donations we do receive will go to the village hall to cover gas and electricity costs.

Tuesday 28th July will see the start of the new once weekly service, with a main meal (with a vegetarian option) and a surprise pudding. Food HUGS will monitor the situation and match the service we give accordingly.

The project was awarded a grant from the Scottish Government's Community Wellness Fund administered by the CORRA foundation allowing it to continue to offer this great service to those in the village who need it.

The food choice for this week is:VE day HUGS meals

Tuesday 2ist July Food HUGS

Roasted carrot and pepper soup or

Butternut squash soup

Apple tart and custard


Delivewry volunteersFriday 24th July Food HUGS

Chilli con carne with jacket potato or

Falafel with potato wedges

Surprise pudding

In the first week, 32 FoodHUGS were delivered.  That is now regularly over 50 in and the team is keen to do more.  The project has received valuable support from a number of sources including the local Rotary Club. 

This project is to help the most vulnerable.  If you are self-isolating, or in financial difficulty and want to receive a meal get in touch with Denise via hanks_denise@yahoo.co.uk or 01896 870200 with your preference.

The priority is for folk who received the shielding letter, those self isolating because of age or other health reasons and those who are experiencing financial difficulties.

Wednesday Zoom Prayers

During Lockdown the churches in Scotland have been closed for safety reasons. However Walkerburn and other local church communities have continued reaching out to one another and the wider community, and have been gathering, where possible, electronically.

On Wednesday morning each week at 9.30am they would like to welcome anyone who wishes, whether members of any faith community or not, to gather on "Zoom" for just 20 minutes to pray for people in Walkerburn and Innerleithen, particularly those most in need. 

Wednesday Zoom Prayers will be hosted by people from various local churches over time and anyone can take part. Those interested will need to download "Zoom" onto a computer, laptop, tablet or smart phone, and email the Rev Cedric Blakey, a retired Episcopal priest living nearby, for the link "Zoom" invitation. The email is revcanclb@gmail.com 

Staying Healthy and Entertained with Dignity - the SHED

Sharing SHED Inspired by the town in Perthshire that converted a disused phone box into a village larder a group of residents thought something like this would be very welcome in Walkeerburn.  The community council agreed to allow the transformation of the Community Resilience Shed by the village hall. The idea was shared on Facebook: they were overwhelmed by the generosity of the village. In less than 24 hours the shed was full.

“The idea of the shed is that people can drop off extra provisions in the shed including extra produce grown on an allotment, dry goods, and even books, puzzles, and games and take items that have been donated by others that they can make use of. We were initially concerned that people may consider the shed as competition to the village store and post office. However, this is definitely not the intention. In fact, we encourage people who visit the village shop to purchase an extra item and drop it off at the shed as they go past. It is a small thing that can make a big difference. We also can’t always get the things we would like to have. The shed means you can swap something you would like or need or just take something and donate something later.

We realise that we are only at the beginning of the economic damage that is being caused by the global pandemic. Many have lost their jobs or fear they will. Whilst food banks help with emergency situations they are already stretched and it can take time to obtain a referral and wait for the first food parcels to be delivered. In these cases the Sharing Shed can help fill the gap and it is yet another example showing what a caring community we live in. Moreover at the moment, with the schools out and many people confined to their homes, sharing books, games, puzzles and DVDs is also a great way to stave off boredom and keep ourselves entertained during lockdown.

We encourage everyone to check their cupboards to see if there is anything they’d like to donate or swap for something they can use. The shed is open and you can drop off goods anytime. Please observe virus spreading precautions and approach the shed one at a time.  If you have items to donate but are self-isolating please email WalkerburnSharingShed@gmail.com to arrange a pick up.”

Good news - reduced cost plots on allotments

As a response to the lockdown and to give people a chance for some exercise and a chance to produce their own vegetables, WalkerburnCommunity Development Trust has given the Allotments Association a rent holiday for the year.

So, here's a chance to get some exercise and beat those supermarket queues.   BUT HURRY - ONLY 4 LEFT

Walkerburn Allotment Society is offering anyone who wants to have a plot on the allotment site a fee reduction for this year.  You can have a plot for just £10 this year (normally £50 per year) 

If you are interested contact Allin Hoggarth on 07985 319009 or Mary Daykin on 01896 870471

Useful numbers and websites in the current situation

Site maintained by Walkerburn Community Development Trust