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: Cockenzie and Port Seton. Picture: Google MapsCockenzie and Port Seton. Picture: Google Maps

Cockenzie and Port Seton

THE Cockenzie and Port Seton resilience effort continues to help those in need and has received several donations towards its meal deliveries.

During lockdown, food packages and hot meals have been made by council staff at the Port Seton Centre, assisted and delivered by resilience volunteers. More than 7,000 meals have been handed out so far.

In the past week, food has been donated to the resilience group by Scotmid and Lidl, with Scotmid also donating vouchers that will be handed out to people who need it most.

The resilience effort in Cockenzie and Port Seton is being led by the local community council, whose chair Bryan Hickman told the Courier that 11 people have so far applied for and been provided with support from its hardship fund, money given by the Scottish Government to help those who are struggling, for example, to pay bills.

Bryan added that he is looking at how he can take the resilience effort forward and operate it post-lockdown.

Suggesting one idea, he said: “Rather than give out food people can heat up, we are going to try and give out food products with recipes and all the things needed to make the dish, for example spaghetti bolognese, so people don’t become reliant on food that’s already made.”

Bryan told the Courier last week that there were enough volunteers and funding to continue resilience support once lockdown restrictions started to ease.

Bryan added a thanks to James McCann, a chef at The Witchery in Edinburgh, who has been volunteering in the kitchen and helping produce meals.

He also thanked John Simpson, who has supplied all the plastic tubs that meals are stored and delivered in since the start of the lockdown.

Contact details

Those who require assistance of any kind are asked to call the resilience emergency number on 07783 643105.

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

Humbie, East and West Saltoun, and Bolton

RESIDENTS in Humbie are looking to the future as restrictions surrounding lockdown are eased.

A team of volunteers have been working hard in the village, with similar groups of volunteers in East and West Saltoun and Bolton.

Now, discussions are taking place to see how resilience volunteers can remain in place over the coming weeks.

Margo Hodge, who is the point of contact for Humbie, said: “Everything is just ticking along.

“We have still got our volunteers and we are discussing long term what we are going to have to look at, as this is going on for maybe weeks.

“There may be some changes, letting people out and about, but we are still looking at what our group needs to keep an eye on.

“We are really making plans to take into account the changes but still have a resilience team there.”

The Humbie volunteers have a weekly Zoom meeting when they discuss issues that have arisen in the previous seven days, while also looking to the future.

Community resilience volunteers are offering to pick up shopping and prescriptions, with the Humbie volunteers also tying in with nearby Fala.

Contact details

People in Bolton should contact Shena Jamieson on 01620 810239 or by email at

East Saltoun residents can contact Buffy Neilson on 07798 738372 or

In West Saltoun, Derek Smith is the point of contact on 01875 340722 or by emailing

In Humbie, people are encouraged to call Margo Hodge on 01875 833638 or email

East Lothian Courier: Musselburgh. Picture: Google MapsMusselburgh. Picture: Google Maps


TWO young people from the Musselburgh area are volunteering as ‘paper boys’ to deliver copies of the Musselburgh Courier to socially isolated residents during the Covid-19 crisis.

George Sangster and Rory Banks are supporting the efforts of Resilient Musselburgh, led by Musselburgh and Inveresk Community Council, Musselburgh Area Partnership, East Lothian Council’s Connected Communities staff and a team of 100 local volunteers.

Iain Clark, area partnership chairman, said the newspaper was being distributed to people who might benefit from community news during the current lockdown restrictions.

He added: “As a bonus, both George and Rory are using this experience with Resilient Musselburgh towards gaining a Youth Scotland Hi5 Award, which is an award for young people that records and recognises wider achievement.

“To gain a Hi5 Award, young people choose a challenge, complete a minimum of five hours of activity, think about and comment on their achievements and gather evidence of their participation.

“They will receive a certificate showing their name, challenge and special achievements. The certificate will also show the SCQF level and credit points.”

Iain said Resilient Musselburgh volunteers, in addition to delivering food to local residents, have also started the distribution of activity packs which include crosswords, puzzles, arts and crafts.

Contact details

The Resilient Musselburgh dedicated support number is 07871 729037.

East Lothian Courier: Prestonpans. Picture: Google MapsPrestonpans. Picture: Google Maps


PEOPLE in Prestonpans have been left “very angry” after the actions of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s chief advisor, community council chairman Brian Weddell has said.

Speaking about the much anticipated relaxation of some of the lockdown restrictions this week, Brian said the community had been left infuriated by the news that Dominic Cummings had travelled hundreds of miles from London to his family’s estate in Durham to self isolate with his wife and son.

He said: “Last week, the First Minister announced the Scottish Government’s ‘route map’ through and, hopefully, out of the Covid-19 crisis.

“The first part of that plan is to be implemented this week and relaxes the lockdown rules that have been in place since March 23.

“It is unfortunate that this planned and staggered approach to slowly ‘getting back to normal’ could be undermined by all the publicity over the weekend of the actions of the Prime Minister’s advisor, Dominic Cummings.

“Understandably, people in Prestonpans are very angry that the sacrifices they have had to make in not seeing friends and family over the past two months has not been matched by the Prime Minister’s closest advisor.”

Dominic Cummings has insisted he did not break any rules when he made the decision to move his family after his wife showed symptons of Covid-19, so they were close to relatives who could help with childcare if needed.

Brian appealed to people to stick to the rules and guidance even as lockdown is eased, to avoid a second wave of the pandemic.

He said: “The Prestonpans Resilience Group want to place on record our thanks to the many volunteers helping those in our community who have stuck to the rules in order to protect themselves, their families and their neighbours, and say a special thank you to all the ‘Panners’ who have been shielding over the past two months.

“Although the lockdown measures are starting to relax, we would urge everyone to stick to the rules as the last thing we want is a second wave of the virus that puts more lives at risk and brings a return of the tougher lockdown measures.

“The next phase of the Scottish Government testing, tracing and isolating strategy could see many people shielding who will require support and we will gear up as this evolves.”

From Tuesday to Friday last week the Pennypit Pantry provided 1,025 meals or bags of shopping, with 525 deliveries, and have asked that “a big shout out” is given to all the volunteers and local community who have donated so far.

Lorna Bellany at the Pennypit said: “It’s insane right now the numbers that we are doing but everyone is so appreciative. I actually came across some feedback the other day that I think is lovely.

“It said ‘many thanks for all the work for today’. The woman was delighted and wanted to pass on that it ‘made her day’ and ‘it was like someone giving her a hug’.”

Last weekend, East Lothian Sunday Fresh Chicken Dinners delivered 123 meals around East Lothian, which was up again from the previous week.

East Lothian Sunday Fresh Chicken Dinners can be contacted via Facebook or telephone on 07752 284249.

Contact details

Prestonpans Community Council has set up a hardship fund for people finding it difficult the longer lockdown continues, and anyone needing support should telephone the resilience hotline number on 07517 715085 or email

East Lothian Courier: Tranent. Picture: Google MapsTranent. Picture: Google Maps

Tranent and Elphinstone

VOLUNTEERS are still supporting residents in Tranent and Elphinstone, and work continues to ensure resilience efforts can be maintained after lockdown restrictions begin to ease.

Tranent and Elphinstone Community Council has been overseeing the local resilience effort, led by member Mike Falconer, the group’s single point of contact (SPoC).

Mike has been contacting registered volunteers to ask if they are still available to help.

All volunteers are asked to check their emails and respond if they are no longer available to help, as Mike understands that some circumstances might have changed in the past few weeks.

He added a thanks to all the volunteers who have helped in the past two months.

Mike said: “A huge thank you to all of the fantastic volunteers who have helped with food deliveries, prescription pick ups, checking on neighbours, walking dogs, directing traffic, shopping, donating books and clothes, and all the many things you have done to support folks in the community at this really difficult time.

“We’ve been at it now for over eight weeks and the response has been amazing. Well done and thank you.”

Contact details

Those who still need assistance can call 07483 453878 or email

Additionally, those who usually pick up hearing aid batteries from the library can call the Port Seton Centre on 01875 818181, and arrange for them to be delivered.