FUNDING has been secured for a scheme to provide local families with food and clothing during the coronavirus pandemic.

Haddington’s community council has been at the heart of a new project designed to help families and individuals struggling during the crisis.

Pat Lemmon, from the town’s community council, encouraged people to come forward and stressed that all referrals would be dealt with “in the strictest confidence”.

Referrals can be made by either a professional or agency working with an individual or family who are experiencing financial difficulties and need a helping hand to purchase food or clothing.

Mrs Lemmon said it would be “foolish” to think people were not struggling and in need of food and clothing.

She said: “You are always going to have a situation where people get into financial difficulty and have to beg, steal or borrow to get a pair of shoes for their child.

“It is not the child who should suffer.

“You are always going to have agencies trying to make a difference and it is something we cannot close our eyes to.

“Different levels of poverty exist throughout East Lothian.

“There is no reason why people should suffer or worry about getting help when funds are available.

“I was talking to a couple of people about this and I am amazed more people have not applied.

“I am constantly keeping in contact with the different agencies to get them to spread the word to make them aware of it.

“It is on the community council website and if people are worried that their names are going to be discussed it would be breaking the community council code of conduct.

“We would not be discussing anybody’s name – it would be in the strictest of confidence.”

The cash grant cannot be used to purchase alcohol or tobacco, and all receipts must be returned to the person who has made the referral.

The person making the referral should specify how much they think the individual or family needs to assist them at the time.

The community council, which also covers Athelstaneford, will then review the application, decide how much is to be awarded as a grant, and arrange for the person making the referral to be given the cash grant.

Funding has been secured through area partnership European funding, and a donation from a Haddington resident, who asked to remain anonymous, in response to the community resilience team’s efforts during lockdown.

Volunteers from throughout the community joined forces to ensure help and assistance were on offer to vulnerable members of society.

As well as collecting shopping and prescriptions, volunteers made face shields, delivered hot meals and even provided a service where people could simply chat to someone over the phone.

The community resilience group also set up a lending library, which is continuing throughout the pandemic, where people can borrow jigsaws, books and games.

Mrs Lemmon said: “It dawned on us there was a need, with winter coming in, to have a look at clothing.

“We thought about a clothing exchange or clothing bank but there was just as much need for clothing grants as well as food grants.”

Already, more than £1,000 has been handed over, with the community councillor pleased to say there were “a few thousand pounds” still available.

The scheme is open to anyone in the Haddington and Lammermuir ward. To find out more, email