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: Dirleton Castle. Copyright G Laird and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.Dirleton Castle. Copyright G Laird and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.


CREATIVE youngsters throughout Dirleton are set for a boost thanks to a new initiative. Dirleton Area Resilience Team (DART) have been working throughout the lockdown restrictions to serve people in the village.

Now they have teamed up with Katie Nevans, co-ordinator of North Berwick Community Centre.

Within the next week, each family with children in the area will receive a craft pack containing pens, pencils, crayons, paints and other materials.

The aim of the pack is to help stimulate children’s interest and provide enjoyment during the difficult lockdown period.

David Tait, DART lead coordinator, said: “The youth of our village and the surrounding area will always have a part in our ongoing forward planning and I hope that this initiative will give them a sense that we are thinking of them during these difficult times.

“Many thanks to Katie for supplying the materials and to my partner Danielle Crawford, who has assembled 50 of the packs ready for distribution.”

In the meantime, the group continues to serve the community and fulfil shopping and prescription requests.

The DART essentials community larder also continues to flourish, with frequent changes to its stock.

DART recently received generous donations of flowers, herbs and food items from the Archerfield Walled Garden.

David said he is extremely grateful for donations such as these and for the strong community spirit that continues to grow.

He also stressed that the DART essentials community larder is for everyone in the community to use.

He told the Courier: “There seems to have been a misunderstanding that it’s only for families with Dirleton primary school pupils, and for people in extreme need.

“But that’s not the case: it’s for everyone in the community, whatever their circumstances.”

Contact details

If you would like to know more about DART activities or have any questions related to the Covid-19 crisis, email

East Lothian Courier: DunbarDunbar


A HOT meal service is proving a great success in supporting people throughout the Dunbar and East Linton ward.

Funding has been secured to see hundreds of hot meals served up to those in need throughout the area.

Helen Harper, who is based at Dunbar’s Bleachingfield Centre, and Katie Pollock, from Home-Start East Lothian, have been at the heart of the project.

George Robertson, chairman of Dunbar and East Linton Area Partnership, has been heavily involved in the community resilience efforts in Dunbar and neighbouring West Barns.

He said: “The meal service has been very, very popular.

“Katie and Helen are the ones doing the leg work on it, really, and we are still getting the same support from the chefs from Thomas Franks [the catering company for Belhaven Hill School], who are operating out of Loretto School in Musselburgh.

“The food is then transported to the Bleachingfield Centre in Dunbar for distribution.”

The service is restricted to those in need and those who are being shielded.

George stressed it was a project which could also assist people who might be struggling with their mental health.

He added: “A lot of this situation generates anxiety in people for all sorts of reasons.

“Money is one of them, and having the wherewithal to shop and buy your own food.

“Relieving that pressure makes a big difference.”

George also anticipated mental health issues could worsen as the lockdown and coronavirus-related restrictions continue, when people will struggle to make ends meet.

The town’s resilience efforts mean Dunbar and West Barns have been split into different sections, with each having a lead volunteer.

There are nine clusters: Shore and Harbour Group; High Street, Parsonspool to Kings Court; West End to Countess Road; Belhaven and Kirk Park; West Barns and the Beveridge Row development; Queen’s Road and the new housing developments; Hallhill, Kellie Road and to the railway line; Brodie Road east and north to the railway line; and Brodie Road west and north to the railway line.

George told the Courier that the cluster from Kellie Road to the railway line was the busiest, and highlighted the number of social houses in that area, as well as an elderly population.

Contact details

For more information, go to Dunbar and District Coronavirus Community Helpers at or Dunbar Community Council at

East Lothian Courier: East Linton. Picture: Google MapsEast Linton. Picture: Google Maps

East Linton

HOMEMADE cake has been delivered to homes throughout East Linton to mark VE Day.

Volunteers in the Dunpender area, which also takes in Whitekirk and Whittingehame, have been offering a variety of services to people in need during the coronavirus outbreak.

As well as collecting shopping or prescriptions, the volunteers, who make up Dunpender and East Linton Resilience Team (DELRT) decided to do something to mark the 75th anniversary of the Nazis’ unconditional surrender of their armed forces.

On Friday, volunteers marked the occasion and Gill Robertson, one of those involved, told the Courier: “I just felt it was a nice thing to do.

“We asked for volunteers to bake and we got lots of baking. We took over the village hall on Friday and there were about 60 cakes arrived.”

Youngsters from the village’s primary school, as well as local groups, were also asked to contribute by writing a letter.

The cake and letter were packaged in one of the boxes used by volunteers who are delivering hot meals throughout the Dunbar and East Linton ward, complete with a specially printed label.

Gill said that it could be difficult for elderly people and those living alone, given social isolation.

It was hoped the scheme would put a smile on people’s faces, with individuals being nominated to receive the special boxes.

Gill added: “I think it was a real success and we have had some lovely feedback.”

Contact details

Information relating to the coronavirus is available on the Tyninghame Village Hall website – – as well as on

For more information on the services available, call 07514 136334 or 07933 709745.

East Lothian Courier: Gullane. Picture: Google MapsGullane. Picture: Google Maps


PLANS for the relaxation of lockdown restrictions are being drawn up in Gullane.

The village’s resilience team are continuing with their activities, which include collecting prescriptions and shopping.

A spokesman for Gullane Resilience Team (GRT) said there had been several referrals in the last week but generally activities have been quieter.

He said: “Last week we held our food distribution, craft kits, DVD and jigsaw exchange in the village hall, which proved to be highly successful, with the availability of a selection of specialised bread flours being on offer.

“We are currently making plans for when the lockdown is relaxed in the coming weeks.

“Once again, our thanks go to the many volunteers who have given so much of their time to this worthy cause.”

Contact details

Anyone who is looking for further information can call 07312 117993 or email More information can also be found at the newly established website at, while there is also a group on Facebook, at

East Lothian Courier: North Berwick. Copyright William Starkey and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons LicenceNorth Berwick. Copyright William Starkey and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

North Berwick

NORTH Berwick Community Centre has been a hive of activity during the coronavirus crisis, acting as a hub for food, toiletries, hearing aid batteries, pet food, books, DVDs and children’s activity craft packs.

The centre is staffed by East Lothian Council Connected Communities team, who have sent out 299 weekly lunch packs as well as 94 frozen meals, 24 kindness food bags, which include essential everyday items, and 243 children’s craft activity packs.

Centre staff have received more than 75 referrals for support from East Lothian Council’s Contact Centre.

Referrals are processed through the centre together with local Resilience Group volunteers in North Berwick, Gullane, Aberlady and Dirleton, who have delivered requests for food, toiletries and prescriptions.

The resilience hub builds on the work of the kindness co-operative, which has operated from the centre for many years.

Food has been purchased from local supermarkets and donated through FareShare.

East Lothian Council’s school meal service has provided the weekly lunch packs.

Food is being distributed to people shielding as well as to low-income families and individuals throughout the community by a team of North Berwick Resilience Group volunteers.

Staff and volunteers have also been making meals which are then frozen and distributed.

North Berwick Rugby Club kindly loaned a freezer to the centre after contacting the North Berwick Resilience Group and a further freezer has been purchased to ensure the hub is well stocked.

North Berwick Trust has supported the kindness cooperative with a donation of £2,000, which has helped pay for essential food and toiletries.

Katie Nevans, community development officer from the Connected Communities team at North Berwick Community Centre, said: “Thanks to the generous donation from the North Berwick Trust we have been able to act swiftly and stock up on our food provisions and toiletries to support the local resilience groups meet the need for emergency food in our communities.”

Local people have also been donating items for distribution and North Berwick Coastal Area Partnership has provided funding for resilience group food projects in Gullane, Dirleton and Aberlady.

Anyone wishing to donate food or toiletries should contact the centre on 01620 893056 between 9am and 3pm Monday to Friday.

Meanwhile, the North Berwick resilience group are continuing to help with shopping and prescriptions.

Contact details

For more information go to or phone 07745 636441.