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Covid-19 crisis fund supports Kirkconnel and Kelloholm Development Trust

Kirkconnel and Kelloholm Development Trust

The Kirkconnel and Kelloholm Development Trust has received a boost after receiving £20,000 from one of Scotland’s biggest wind farm operator’s Covid-19 crisis fund.

Community Windpower, which operates seven wind farms including Sanquhar Community Wind Farm, has provided the money through its Community Benefit Fund and is part of a wider £255,000 fund across Scotland.

The benefit fund is managed by the Upper Nithsdale Community Trust, which agreed with Community Windpower to divert the funds to help people during the prolonged Covid-19 crisis.

Rose Murdoch, who works for the Kirkconnel and Kelloholm Development Trust, is working with a number of local organisations, including schools, along with individuals to ensure the money is used to benefit as many people as possible for as long as possible.

She said: “On behalf of the Kirkconnel and Kelloholm Development Trust I wish to thank both Community Windpower and the Upper Nithsdale Community Trust for the £20,000 funding.

“We’re still in the planning stages of how we can best spend the money, but we’re encouraged at how the communities have come together and helped each other during the last three months.

“During the early days of Covid-19 we re-organised our existing Food Share/Fare Share provision and developed a ‘check and chat’ system, delivering food and using this as a catalyst to engage with people and find out if they needed help or support.

“But we soon realised that food wasn’t the only support people needed, as loneliness and mental health issues were common across the communities.

“We’ve looked at creating activity bags, facilitating people to be able to grow their own fruit and vegetables and also reacting to the new ways people are finding to entertain themselves.

“Whether it’s baking, walking, cycling or gardening, people are using their time differently and it’s important we help people enjoy these activities to help combat loneliness and mental health problems.

“Equipment is key for most people, particularly IT, because if people have laptops or mobile devices we can hold virtual cooking and exercise classes which is particularly useful for vulnerable people who are self-isolating.

“We could use some of the funds to help with IT support, but also provide a bike repair support group that would refurbish bikes for use by those without access to a bicycle but is looking to use one for exercise.

“However, most of this will need to be supported by volunteers and this has been one of the most positive elements of lockdown in small rural communities.

“Usually most of our volunteers are predominantly elderly, but in the last few months we’ve seen many younger people offering their time and this is something we want to harness and continue long after the Covid-19 crisis has passed.

“Whether it’s a small group of people coming together to refurbish bikes for others to use for exercise, or providing IT support to a group of people to utilise cookery classes, we want to use the fund to help everyone to do things that make them smile and ease the pressure of lockdown.

“We don’t have enough resource to be able to do everything, and would rather enable people, whether individually or in small groups, to all make small long-term differences to our communities.

“If that happens then we can show with financial support from Community Windpower and the Upper Nithsdale Community Trust, we’re created legacies that our communities can be proud of for many years to come.”

Diane Wood, community benefits director at Community Windpower, which operates the Sanquhar Community Wind Farm, said: “We’re grateful to the Upper Nithsdale Community Trust for its support in redirecting the money to help members of communities directly affected by the Covid-19 situation.

“It’s so important we support all members of our communities during this pandemic, which is why we didn’t hesitate to support the Trust.

“Everyone is finding different ways to get through this pandemic, but many people are suffering in different ways due to their personal circumstances.

“We know this money will be used wisely, ensuring when we’re through Covid-19 all communities can look back with pride on what’s been achieved.”

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