A film that celebrates the Berwickshire community’s response to Covid-19 has recently premiered online.
Berwickshire in Lockdown is about hope and resilience. It documents the efforts of community groups, charities and social enterprises to respond quickly, and often creatively, to the emerging challenges facing the region.
Borders Third Sector Interface partners Berwickshire Association for Voluntary Services (Bavs) commissioned the virtual exhibition.
Bavs set up a “microgrants” scheme, with funding from National Lottery Community Fund Scotland and Scottish Government Supporting Communities Fund. The aim was to quickly get money to groups working on the ground and save them having to cut through red tape.
Over the last year, more than 65 grants (ranging from £250 to £5,000) were distributed from the Community Fund and from the Scottish Government Supporting Communities Fund.
Juliana Amaral, Chief Officer of Bavs, said: “This film gives us an archive demonstrating some of what happened during these remarkable times. We can use it to highlight what was achieved and build on this community activism. We are grateful to the funders for supporting us, as the local community development agency in Berwickshire, and for trusting our local knowledge to get grants out quickly to where they were really needed.”
Berwickshire in Lockdown premiered on Monday 24 May on YouTube and also featured in the DunsPlayFest programme that day.
Food larders and similar projects were among the key initiatives to emerge during lockdown. The Eyemouth Response Team and Splash, for example, partnered with the local foodbank, Eyemouth Rotary Club and some of the local churches to provide an ongoing supply of cooked meals and food parcels for local people.
The Men’s shed in Coldstream produced more than 400 face shields for local nurses, health visitors and care homes.
Families have been under increased pressure during the past year, with schools closed and home schooling. ParentSpace was able to deliver online mindfulness courses to help parents manage their stress, as well as provide packs for parents who were finding things tough.
Those are just some of the ways that the grant recipients rallied round to support those in their communities.
Senior Development Worker with Bavs, Jenny Haines, explained: “At the start of the first lockdown, we set up a Covid-19 webpage for community organisations to ensure the sector could access up-to-date information about developments and emergency funding. We also provided support to groups so they could move their services online.
“We have worked with a health and safety specialist to provide up-to-date guidance to ensure the safe running and re-opening of village halls and other charities and community groups.
“The grants allowed us to host online training for third sector staff to ensure that their services are properly risk assessed and safe as we emerge from lockdown. We have also provided coaching to staff working on the frontline in charities during this pandemic.”
Bavs commissioned AllanBank Arts to produce the Berwickshire in Lockdown film, with support from two young local filmmakers, Sam Ward and Nathan Landon.