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Highland Council leader heartened by locals pulling together in face of new Covid threat

By Gavin Musgrove

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The leader of Highland Council has expressed heartfelt thanks to all the local authority's staff, community groups and volunteers helping with the Covid-19 emergency response.

During the original lockdown in March, staff from across all council services volunteered for new roles that included delivering food and essentials, processing business grants and welfare applications, taking calls on the council’s dedicated helplines and contacting the most vulnerable members of our community.

Since Christmas the number of infections in Highland has risen as they have elsewhere.

In addition, calls to the council's helpline both for welfare and business have more than doubled.

Many staff are again volunteering to step into these roles as the council reopens its hubs that are to support Highland citizens through this difficult winter.

More than 300 local resilience groups have been set up across the Highlands pulling together community groups and individual volunteers to provide vital support where it is needed most.

Council leader Margaret Davidson. Picture: Callum Mackay. Image No. 043189
Council leader Margaret Davidson. Picture: Callum Mackay. Image No. 043189

Councillor Margaret Davidson said: “It is now nine months since the original lock-down in March which makes it even more heartening to see the continued dedication and ingenuity of our staff, local community groups and volunteers who are providing a wide range of support in our communities.

“The amount of work that has been going on day-in and day-out has been immense. I am proud and humbled by the resilience and dedication of our workforce, local community groups and everyone who has volunteered."

Councillor Allan Henderson, chairman of the communities and place committee, echoed the council leader's thanks and praise.

He said: “Our communities and the many people who have stepped up and volunteered their time and skills really deserve our gratitude. Looking out for each other and helping the most vulnerable through these very challenging times remains a priority for everyone.

"What has particularly struck me is how quickly everyone has adapted and created new ways of working together - the efforts of so many, do really make a difference so thank you.”

The council’s freephone Covid helpline 0300 303 1362 is in place to help.

It provides support and information on a wide range of issues including support for businesses, education, assisting key workers and those needing help with welfare benefits or free school meals vouchers.

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