TEAMS of volunteers are in place across East Lothian doing everything they can to help vulnerable members of their communities.

From collecting shopping and vital prescriptions to dog walking and simply being there for people, the volunteers are there for residents throughout the coronavirus crisis.

Here, we look at five of the groups who are giving up their own time to help out.

East Lothian Courier: Gifford. Picture: Google MapsGifford. Picture: Google Maps


GIFFORD residents received a boost last week as Yester Parish Church was lit blue to mark the Thursday evening ‘clap for our carers’.

Local resident James Watt worked with the church to install the light films which will now be turned on every Thursday from 8pm to 11pm.

Photographs were shared online by residents living by the church so the village could see the iconic building.

The weekly ‘soup and a smile’ delivery providing hot soup, a buttered roll and a fruit scone to households with an older resident living alone has also received positive feedback, with those receiving the meals enjoying them.

A spokesperson for Gifford Community Council said: “Our numbers for the soup and a smile service have grown as more residents have come forward, which we are delighted with.

“We’ve been very touched to receive donations towards this project and are looking at funding sources, too.”

A project by resident Ellie Thomson to make face coverings for the community volunteers has finished, and extra coverings are now available from Hogg’s the Newsagents to the wider village for a donation.

The community council said: “The masks look amazing and we’re grateful to Ellie and to everyone who donated material, thread or elastic.

“Ellie has now returned to making gowns and bags for the NHS and we have given her a donation towards this worthwhile project.

“We are fortunate to have more than we need for our volunteer network so are working with Hoggs the Newsagents to make them, and surplus ‘buff ’ scarves, available to the wider village by donation.

“Our volunteers remain willing to undertake practical tasks for households and we would encourage anyone who needs our support to get in touch.”

Contact details

Anyone needing help can contact: Jo Allen, GCC chairperson, on 01620 811019 or; Adam White, GCC vice chairperson, on 01620 810298 or; Wendy Ferguson, GCC treasurer, on 01620 811069 or; The Rev Aniko Schuetz Bradwell on 01620 811193 or

East Lothian Courier: Haddington High StreetHaddington High Street


MEMBERS of the community have been praised for their continued support throughout the coronavirus pandemic.

Chris McEwan, who has been at the heart of the efforts in Haddington, said volunteers had done a great job alongside members of the community.

He said: “The community are doing everything to help each other.

“We are well into this and people are still looking after each other and still doing stuff.

“I said last week that we were starting to look to the future and making sure our volunteers are available when things get relaxed but people are helping out wherever they can.

“The whole community support round the town has been second to none.

“Hopefully, one day the restrictions will get lifted and we’ll get back to some sort of normality – whatever that may be.

“The town and surrounding areas, such as Athelstaneford, need to hold their heads high and say they coped very well with this situation.”

Volunteers have been assisting members of the community for almost two months, since lockdown restrictions were introduced.

Services such as dog walking, collecting food and prescriptions have been on offer, as well as simply offering the chance for people to have someone to talk to.

Chris, vice-chairman of the town’s community council, said organisations such as Our Community Kitchen and Haddington Community Church were doing what they could to support residents as well.

An increase in prescription collections has been noticed in recent days, with the resilience volunteers also doing what they can to try to help people secure delivery slots from supermarkets such as Tesco and Sainsbury’s.

Chris stressed that people throughout the town could get in touch with them.

If the group of volunteers were unable to help, they would try to point people in the right direction for further assistance.

He said: “It has been going really, really well.

“We just want to make sure everybody knows that they can get in touch with us.”

Contact details

For more information, go to or call 07952 003 386 between 10am and 4pm.

East Lothian Courier: Longniddry. Picture: Google MapsLongniddry. Picture: Google Maps


WHILE residents in Longniddry have been helping each other during the coronavirus crisis, they are reminded that assistance is there should they need it.

The effort is being led by the local church and supported by Longniddry Community Council.

So far it has been business as usual and, while there have not been many enquiries, there are still some, which are being answered.

There are also 80 volunteers ready and waiting to help respond to enquiries when they arise; one volunteer has started offering a dog-walking service.

Shopping requests are rare, as residents have been getting food delivered via online services.

Longniddry’s volunteers can help with shopping and pick up prescriptions – but the local pharmacy offers a delivery service to those over the age of 70.

Contact details

Anyone who needs assistance or has any queries can contact Sheila Jamieson on 07927 400437.

East Lothian Courier: Macmerry. Picture: Google MapsMacmerry. Picture: Google Maps

Macmerry and Gladsmuir

THE resilience team in Macmerry and Gladsmuir continue to help those in need, and the pom pom initiative continues to thrive.

Stevie Sutherland, one of the co-ordinators, told the Courier that, due to there not being a huge demand for assistance, volunteers have instead decided to look at the mental health and wellbeing of the local community.

Ribbons were placed around the villages on places such as the school gates and several trees.

People have been encouraged to make brightly coloured pom poms which can be tied up with a ribbon.

Some have been making their own displays in their gardens.

Stevie said that some responses in reaction to the initiative have been very positive.

He said: “We’ve had some fantastic responses of support, even from people who are not from the village.

“People saying that they were driving through and it’s brilliant to see the colourful displays of ribbons.

“One of the reasons for doing it is to encourage all key workers, if they are having to go to work, that we still appreciate what they are doing.

“We are going to try and get a banner made and put up as well, as a thank you.”

Some donations of ribbons and wool were given to the Macmerry and Gladsmuir Resilience Team by RBG Fruits, based in Macmerry.

They were also given 1,000 bars of soap from a charity in Glasgow.

Some were sent to St Martin’s Church, in Tranent, where food is being distributed to families in need.

Contact details

More information is available on the resilience group’s Facebook and Twitter pages, at and

East Lothian Courier: Ormiston. Picture: Google MapsOrmiston. Picture: Google Maps


LIKE many communities, Ormiston already had a database of elderly and vulnerable residents who may require help in the event of an emergency, and a list of people who would volunteer to help if the need arose.

However, community council chairman Scott Gillies said they believed the main threat would be weather related, such as a return of the “Beast from the East” – they had not expected a crisis such as the coronavirus lockdown and the response from everyone has been amazing.

Scott said: “I don’t think anyone ever thought we’d be dealing with something on the scale of a pandemic.

“Once we knew the scale of what we were going to have to deal with, the community council set up Ormiston Community Resilience Team with a Facebook page and we did a call for volunteers and received many replies.

“Those volunteers were split up into streets to cover in the village, and they delivered cards to their areas, giving their own details so residents could contact them directly if they required assistance in any form.

“Ormiston being a relatively small community there are many residents who have family and neighbours helping them anyway, so it meant that our volunteers have been able to concentrate on those who required help the most.

“This has included collecting shopping, medicine and just being there for a chat, during what is a very lonely time for some people.

“The local pharmacy was given a list of our volunteers’ contact details so they were able to contact them directly if medicine was ready to be picked up for someone in their area.”

The team also had support from the Pennypit Community Development Trust, who have been providing hot meals and food packs six days a week, collected and delivered by three volunteers to around eight local residents.

Scott sent the community council’s thanks to those involved.

He said: “We’d like to thank them and those who have donated money and food to allow this to continue.

“Jack and Grant from the Coalgate pub have started delivering hot meals on a Thursday to elderly and vulnerable residents in the village, which again has been gratefully received.

“We also have volunteers phoning around those on the elderly and vulnerable list to check they are okay, if they need anything and just providing a bit of company for those who may not get much interaction with others during this lockdown.

“I really can’t thank the volunteers and those providing a service for the village enough.

“They have been the stars in this terrible situation and have proved that community spirit is alive and well in Ormiston.

“I would also like to thank my fellow community council members Lynsey Jarvis and Jackie Voy for their work in collecting all the information and driving the whole process.”

Contact details

If anyone in Ormiston requires help they can contact the team on 07737 569480 between 8am and 7pm, seven days a week or email