AN ONLINE fundraising appeal is set to be launched to mark the 30th anniversary of First Step, the Musselburgh charity for familes and young children.

It is hoped well-wishers will make a birthday donation to aid its work, as demand for its service increases as the weeks progress during the Covid-19 crisis.

The project, based on Galt Avenue, was 30 years old on April 2 but was forced to cancel its celebration, the First Step’s Got Talent competition, scheduled for May 3, due to the pandemic.

Tina Pollock, project manager, said the talent show would have been “a fantastic opportunity” to bring the community together to celebrate the anniversary and it was hoped it would still go ahead later in the year when it was safe to do so.

She added: “We are in the process of planning an online fundraiser to celebrate our 30th birthday, for the community to give a birthday gift to us.

“We are using online media channels such as our Facebook page to celebrate through sharing of old photos and asking the community to share their memories of what First Step means to them.”

She stressed: “First Step rely on external funding to keep our vital services going and are always in the need of donations.

“During the lockdown we have had a donation of £200 from Musselburgh Inner Wheel Club, as well as a parent offering to run a marathon in his garden to raise funds for the project.

“With the loss of income from coronavirus and cancellation of fundraising events, it is even more vital that people donate.

“We are also trying to source funding/donations to offer home learning packs to parents so that children can continue their learning at home, linking into their online journals.”

Tina added that they had applied for some of the government grants which were announced as a result of Covid-19 but found the project was not eligible.

She said: “Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, we had to close our face-to-face contact work and look at different ways that we could continue to support families within our community.”

On offer are: online Book Bug sessions; an online antenatal group; online baby massage classes; Zoom weekly breastfeeding support; one-to-one counselling with project counsellors; delivery of craft pack and play resources; linking in with the local foodbank to deliver food and essentials during the lockdown; partnership working with local community hub to deliver lunch to older people in the community who are shielding and ensure free school meals are dished out; one-to-one telephone support for parents on issues around emotional/mental health, and parenting advice; linking in and referring families to other organisations for services such as benefits advice; and a closed Facebook page for ‘early years’ parents and staff to interact, and share activity ideas.

Tina added: “We are continuing to evaluate what we are doing and add in additional supports and services as required, taking into account government restrictions.

“The demand for support is increasing as the weeks progress and we envisage that this will continue to be the case.”

She said that, although the premises were closed, staff members were continuing to operate within their current roles from home.

To give a donation or undertake a fundraising activity for First Step, contact Tina at