TEAMS of volunteers across East Lothian have spent more than three months 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.

As teams of volunteers get ready to step down, we look at five of the groups who have been giving up their own time to help out.

East Lothian Courier: DunbarDunbar


MORE than 6,000 hot meals have been dished up to people throughout the Dunbar and East Linton ward in less than four months.

The Dunbar and District Meals Service is entering its final week as lockdown restrictions are further eased.

Over the course of the past 15 weeks during lockdown, the meals scheme has ensured that vulnerable and shielded individuals in the ward have been provided with good-quality pre-prepared meals.

George Robertson, who has been heavily involved with the resilience response in Dunbar, offered his praise to those involved in the scheme.

He said: “The two organisers, Katy Pollock and Helen Harper, have done a terrific job, and were able to recruit the services of three professional chefs from Thomas Franks Ltd, a catering company which normally provides a meals service for schools including Loretto and Belhaven Hill.

“Meals were prepared in the kitchens at Loretto School and then taken to the Bleachingfield Centre in Dunbar, where a team of local volunteers arranged distribution.

“The service was very well received and recipients were grateful not just for the nourishing meals but also for the social contact with the volunteers that this provided.

“Funding came via Dunbar and East Linton Area Partnership.

“Now that lockdown is easing and shielded individuals can venture out, there is less of a need.

“Also, our chefs will soon return to their day jobs when the next school year begins.

“A very much reduced service will continue for about 12 families who still have a need.”

A short ceremony was arranged by Katy and Helen on Friday, with a buffet lunch and some small presentations to the three chefs and to the local volunteers who have delivered the meals.

East Lothian Courier: HaddingtonHaddington


A MASSIVE thank you has been given to everyone who helped out throughout Haddington during lockdown.

A team of volunteers helped the community resilience group organised by the town’s community council.

Voluntary groups such as Haddington Rotary Club and Our Community Kitchen also helped ensure vulnerable members of the community received help.

Chris McEwan, vice-chairman of the community council, has been at the helm of the community resilience effort.

Volunteers have done everything from collecting shopping and prescriptions to dog walking and simply being someone for isolated people to talk to.

Chris confirmed that the group would officially step down this weekend but schemes such as the lending library would continue.

He said: “I sent out an email last week to really thank the volunteers but it is not just them but the whole community that need to be thanked.

“Without groups like the Rotary and Our Community Kitchen doing their bit, without people looking after their neighbours and family, it could have been a hell of a lot worse.

“With the situation, it could have been a lot more of a difficult time. A few people have really struggled and we have helped where we could. It is gratifying to know they have got the help that they need.

“It is everybody in the town and the surrounding area that really needs to be thanked, not just volunteers and the resilience team.

“We are a pretty large town and the number of calls and referrals has been relatively low for a 10,000 population.

“There are other community councils that are a lot smaller than us but had a lot more to do. I put that down to everybody looking after everybody else, neighbours looking after neighbours. If something goes to the point where someone is not getting help, that is where we get involved.

“It has been absolutely wonderful seeing the community spirit over the past four months.”East Lothian Courier: Musselburgh. Picture: Google MapsMusselburgh. Picture: Google Maps


EAST Lothian’s Lord Lieutenant paid a visit to the Resilient Musselburgh base to see first-hand how the group has been supporting the community during lockdown.

Michael Williams MBE recently met council staff and volunteers involved with the emergency response, which is co-ordinated at Musselburgh East Community Learning Centre.

An army of 100 helpers ensured vulnerable people in the Musselburgh area, including Wallyford and Whitecraig, received food supplies and other deliveries such as prescriptions in the past four months.

Last week, Resilient Musselburgh recognised the effort of local care homes with a surprise kindness gift of a food hamper and 25 boxes of chocolates.

Iain Clark, chairman of Musselburgh Area Partnership and a Deputy Lieutenant, said: “Our care homes have done a fantastic job of keeping residents safe and a well-deserved treat was a small way of saying thank you. These were delivered by some of our volunteers.”

The initiative has been led by the area partnership and Musselburgh & Inveresk Community Council.

Mr Williams praised the efforts of Resilient Musselburgh, saying: “I was utterly humbled at what I saw and so incredibly impressed.

“The coalition of community councillors, area partnership, volunteers, good neighbours, charities and businesses made life possible for all ages with wonderful food, school lunches, puzzles and books.”

He highlighted the emergency work which was replicated across East Lothian, adding that it “brought out the absolute best” in communities.

He also paid tribute to the “fundamental” work of East Lothian Foodbank.

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

THE North Berwick Resilience team stands down today (Friday) after working since March to provide support to people in the town.

Shielding is being ‘paused’ by the Scottish Government from Saturday.

The team has provided practical support, from collecting shopping and prescriptions to providing free face coverings and ‘kindness packs’ to people who are socially isolated and shielding.

Sue Northrop, who holds responsibility for North Berwick Community Council’s emergency plan, said that if people needed support after the end of the week they should contact North Berwick Community Centre on 01620 893056 or email

She added: “Resilience team members are now working with local groups and organisations to ensure that their hard work is used to build resilience in North Berwick.

“For example, over 40 people have offered to volunteer in future emergencies and are interested in other ways of supporting the community.

“The group is also keen to build on the success of the Street Links who have connected local communities during the crisis and the Digital Inclusion project, which has enabled people to communicate with their loved ones and seek help using computer tablets.

"The team will be preparing a report of what they have done and an outline for a new community emergency resilience plan.”

One of the initiatives set up by the team was using funds raised by North Berwick Community Council to pay for nearly 300 copies of the Courier to be given to people in isolation who could not access the internet to allow them to keep up to date with local news and what was happening.

This week will be the last time the papers are distributed and Sue encouraged people who enjoyed reading the Courier and could afford to pay for it to contact local newsagents if they wished to continue receiving the paper.

“The Courier has played an important role in keeping people informed during this crisis and we were very happy to support it,” she said.

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


PRESTONPANS’ community resilience team will step down at the end of the month and community council chairman Brian Weddell has sent everyone who supported the team a thank you.

Brian said: “On behalf of the Prestonpans resilience team, I wanted to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has helped our efforts over the past four months.

“I would particularly like to thank the hard core of volunteers who have given up their spare time or have utilised their time furloughed from work to help those people in Prestonpans who have been shielding or have been unable to get out of the house for essential supplies, especially during lockdown.

“The pandemic wasn’t something East Lothian Council or any of the resilience groups had planned for but the way Panners pulled together was a credit to our local community.”

The team officially stands down today (Friday), when shielding ends, but the Pennypit Trust is continuing to deliver meals and shopping to elderly residents and vulnerable families.

During lockdown, the Pennypit Pantry provided more than 15,150 meals and food parcels.

Organisers plan to keep it running for those in need and are appealing for volunteers to help with deliveries.

Anyone who can help is asked to contact Lorna on 01875 815221 or email

Brian said: “During lockdown we were very lucky that Michelle and Calum Wilson from the Prestoungrange Gothenburg decided to help the community and, over the course of 15 weeks, they delivered 1,000 breakfast packs to homes in Prestonpans, Musselburgh, Port Seton, Tranent and Wallyford.

“Also, Jane Russell and her team at East Lothian Sunday Fresh Chicken Dinner Boxes delivered over 1,500 boxes during the course of 16 weeks across East Lothian. You are still able to access East Lothian Sunday Fresh Chicken Dinner Boxes on 07752 284249.

“Without their work throughout the crisis, a lot of families would have struggled even more. East Lothian Sunday Fresh Chicken Dinner Boxes are always grateful for donations so if you are able to help, please get in touch with them.

“Finally, I would like to give a special shout out to the people who have kept the community council’s resilience effort going since March 23.

“Nicole Millar and Leanne Ward have administered the work of the team whilst still working full time, as well as fulfilling their own family commitments.

“Allan Sneddon stepped into the breach as acting SPoC, ably supported by his wife Angela, and Janis Wilson and Kevin Dempsey, the Top and Bottom Pans team leaders.

“However, the most important work was done by the volunteers who have delivered leaflets, meals, shopping, prescriptions and carried out hours of dog walking.

“All of them have done a tremendous job and made my task of writing a weekly local resilience report for the Courier that much easier, with such a positive story to tell.

“Hopefully we will not have to go through this again but it’s good to know that we have so many community-minded people willing and able to help those less fortunate.

“If you hear of anyone needing support after July 31, contact Emma Brown, PSG Connected Communities manager, on 01875 818181 or email

Other resilience groups' contact details


Ian Malcolm 07557 236232

Sam Robertson 07920 779750


Shena Jamieson 01620 810239 or

Cockenzie & Port Seton

07783 643105


East Saltoun

Buffy Neilson 07798 738372 or


Jo Allen 01620 811019

Adam White 01620 810298

Wendy Ferguson 01620 811069

The Rev Aniko Schuetz Bradwell 01620 811193


07312 117993


Margo Hodge 01875 833638


Sheila Jamieson 07927 400437

Macmerry & Gladsmuir

07511 275461


07737 569480

Tranent and Elphinstone

07483 453878

West Saltoun

Derek Smith 01875 340722