Appin Aid gets community through hard times

One of many volunteers in Appin, Sarah Keating is delivering school meals.

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Community donations to Appin Aid have helped set up a hardship fund for anyone struggling to get through COVID-19.

Since the outbreak of the virus, donations have exceeded £8,000 so far to make sure any residents facing financial challenges receive

support through the next  few months.

Appin Aid started out after a think-tank of all community organisations and a funding page was quickly set up on the Appin.scot website, said its co-ordinator Clare Hunt.

Winning children’s posters thanking NHS and key workers go up in Appin GP surgery’s window as part of the community getting connected.

In just a week, more than 50 volunteers had signed up and a similar number of people had registered as needing help from those who had to stay indoors to others who would need help if their family network suddenly had to self-isolate.

Anyone applying for help from the hardship fund and can show genuine need because of lockdown circumstances will be treated with strictest confidence said Clare, who can be contacted directly on 01631 730416 or by emailing clare_appintransport@outlook.com

Appin Community Trust also has a COVID-19 relief scheme that might be able to help people who have lost serious income during the pandemic, providing essential food supplies from the village’s Community Co-op. Contacts for that scheme are John Landale on 01631 730585, Jessie MacKenzie on 01631 730289 or Iain McNicol  on 01631 730433.

Port Appin Co-op has been ‘amazing’ said Clare, staying well-stocked and taking phone orders, with volunteer drivers dealing with deliveries.

A team of volunteers have also been dropping off school meals daily to families and delivering prescriptions for the doctor’s surgery. Local businessman Keith Carmichael also gave a big donation of PPE to people who needed it, and to make sure no one feels alone, people have willingly given up time to have ‘a blether’ on the phone.

To keep children who are missing their friends feel connected, volunteer Angelina Owen organised a competition inviting youngsters to design posters thanking the NHS and key workers. The posters were put up on regular walking routes for people to see and the winners were chosen by the GP surgery and put up in the surgery window. Appin Aid gave out prizes.

Clare said the volunteers, who are all given government guidance to make sure they stay safe and everyone is protected, are doing a  ‘tremendous job.’

To make sure everyone knows the latest on how Appin Aid can help, a second batch of fliers have just been posted through letterboxes.

Separate to Appin Aid, £35,000 from the government’s Supporting Communities fund is going to Appin Community Development Trust to distribute across a wide neighbouring area from its own patch out to Lismore, to Benderloch, Ardchattan and North Connel to Barcaldine and Kentallen.