The world has changed beyond recognition yet if you look outside your window, it looks exactly the same. Well, except that people are standing a little further apart now.
As the impact of the coronavirus pandemic makes its way into our communities and homes, it has undoubtedly shaken us all, forcing us to live in a completely different way for the safety of ourselves, our loved ones and the communities we live within.
But despite continuing restrictions on our freedom, there is a tidal wave of good sweeping through our communities all across Perthshire reminding us all that even in the darkest corners, there’s always hope of finding some light – and some rainbows (more about that later)!
Small City people are coming together in their droves to support one another as day by day, the way we live our lives changes out of all recognition.
From local businesses coming together to volunteer groups distributing food and to big-hearted individuals offering support, this movement for good is doing extraordinary things in our communities.
When we put a shout out on social media for stories, we were overwhelmed with your messages, so thank you! We haven’t got the space to list every bit of good you’ve told us about so here are just a few highlights.
One thing seems certain, good is contagious! So be sure to pass it on…
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Perth business T’Go Creative designed an ‘Are You Self-Isolating?’ form, making copies available for groups and individuals to slip through neighbour’s letter boxes.
Designed to help those in self-isolation by giving them the phone number of someone locally who’s willing to run errands like pick up groceries or medicine, the forms were widely distributed to homes around Perthshire.
Creative Director Gary Paterson and his team included space on the forms for people to fill in their details and also included an NHS website address.
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Crieff musician Chris White has got pretty creative in keeping his fans entertained since he stopped being able to perform in his usual pubs, clubs and nursing homes.
Earlier this week he was filmed performing just outside a North Inch care home allowing residents inside to enjoy a medley of classic songs from the Beatles to the Drifters.
With just a speaker, microphone and guitar, Chris had residents in a nearby block of flats singing along on their balconies.
Chris, who began his music career last year and had built his business up to playing at 35 care homes across Perth and Kinross, has been delighted by the response to his pop up singalongs.
With just a speaker, microphone and guitar, Chris had residents in a nearby block of flats singing along on their balconies“When C19 started and visits were no longer possible, I had joked with a member of staff in one home that I could always sing from the garden! And so the idea was born. I often busk in Perth and Crieff so I’m used to being outside anyway. I did a gig on the lawn of Ancaster House in Crieff last week and after sharing the video, was contacted by other care homes.
“It’s important for the mental health and well-being of the residents, for whom the lack of visitors and the isolation is so very hard so I’m just doing my bit to help with that really,” added Chris.
To ensure he’s complying with social distancing rules, Chris doesn’t have any face to face contact with staff or residents at the nursing homes he’s playing to and extension leads are left for him to plug equipment into.
Alongside the nursing home gigs, Chris’s Facebook page has been swamped with requests for The Organic Jukebox – where he takes song requests and videos performances from his own home.
“I’ve always done requests – we have a list of 90 songs we put on the tables of pubs and clubs and in the nursing homes and people just call out what they’d like to hear. Since C19, I’m now taking requests online and posting the performances up on my page – I’ve never done that before! We’re all having to adapt!” says Chris.
We love your spirit Chris! Keep up the good work!
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The Small City taxi firm impressed us all with how quickly they responded to news that the elderly and other vulnerable groups couldn’t leave their homes to shop for groceries.
Offering to pick up grocery lists and to shop for those in need, drivers waived any taxi hire or fuel costs, only charging for the items bought.
How’s that for service?
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Kids in Dunning have enjoyed playing their part in helping out those in need in their local communities. Scouts, Cubs and Beavers from Dunning-based 26th Perthshire, joined forces with their community council to distribute forms across the village to help with groceries, dog walks or medicine pick-ups for those unable to leave their houses.
Those needing help were given a number of someone local to call if they needed anything, including just a chat on the phone.
Group Scout Leader Nathan Critchlow said: “We had a good turnout of volunteers to support Dunning Community Council’s response to Covid19. In these challenging times it’s important we come together and we’re proud of the role Scouting is taking in helping the community.”
Gives us the warm fuzzies! We salute you!
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From soup and daffodils to planks and Pilates the Madoch Centre in St Madoes is keeping its community healthy, happy and active!
Through the Larder to the Larder program which is supported with donations from local businesses Stewarts of Tofthill, Glendoick Garden Centre and Inchyra, over 100 deliveries of food items and flowers have been made across the community.
And if that wasn’t enough they’re also offering free Facebook Live exercise classes to keep everyone healthy at home.
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How about some Highland dancing to take your at-home work out regime up a notch?
Scone-based Gillian Urquhart of Highland Hustle is making some of her Highland dancing workouts available for free on the company’s website.
We want to keep people dancing, moving and to keep their spirits up over this timeEstablished in 2014 after Gillian left her teaching job, Highland Hustle blends Highland dancing and contemporary dance to create energetic workouts to great music.
A former competitor in the World Highland Dance Championships (in which she came fourth!) and once a dancer in the Edinburgh Military Tattoo, Gillian knows a thing or two about Highland dance, teaching classes in Perth and doing online classes which are viewed around the world.
“We want to keep people dancing, moving and to keep their spirits up over this time so we’ve put together free resources on our website so everyone can take part,” says Gillian.
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Who doesn’t love a rainbow? By now you’ve probably heard about the Covid19 rainbow movement or if not, have wondered about those cute drawings of them you’ve seen in people’s windows?
Now kids in Auchterarder are being encouraged to chase rainbows during their exercise time each day.
Through the Five Star Active Daily Mile Challenge, the town’s local running club Five Star Active has found a way of keeping kids healthy and creative while schools are closed by painting or drawing pictures of rainbows to stick in their front windows, keeping up their Daily Mile concept from school and counting any rainbows they see posted up along the way.
Kids are then to keep a tally of the number of rainbows ‘collected’ and their parents encouraged to share pictures on the group’s Facebook page alongside any tips for others on where to find rainbows before winning their virtual challenge completer badge.
Five Star Active coach Fiona Watt says it’s important to keep our kids excited about being active, stressing that they should still follow the guidelines on safe distancing.
“Being active and being outdoors are key for kids and families health. We wanted to ensure the Daily Mile concept our kids follow in school is maintained so they could continue reaping the benefits of making them fitter, healthier and more able to concentrate. We wanted to make it fun with the rainbows too so kids would enjoy keeping active. We’ve had such a great response to this idea and love that everyone is embracing it!”
Well done Five Star Active! Wherever you are in our Small City area, get involved with the Five Star Active Daily Mile Challenge if you’re able. Or if you’re self-isolating, create a rainbow of your own to put up in your window.
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Local branches of businesses such as Greggs, Baynes and the Coop are helping to feed vulnerable people through community organisations like Letham4All.
Donated fresh bread rolls, milk, fruit, salads and sandwich fillers are just some of the items available at the group’s Community Fridge Project which is open in their Hub.
Providing a real life line for those who need to self-isolate and for those affected by a sudden reduction in income, local volunteers give their time to make up bags and offer a friendly face.
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Staying home without regular contact from family and friends is hard for anyone but for those with mental health problems, it can be especially difficult.
And that’s why Linda Donnelly of the Perth-based group mental health support group Linda’s Ladies wants people to know that she’ll always be available to lend an ear.
Linda set up the free group last year hoping that by sharing her own experience of living with anxiety and clinical depression she could help others.
She was right! It’s a group much like Andy’s Man Club which encourages men to get together to talk but it’s just for women and once word got around about her informal weekly meetings in Perth, Linda was delighted with the numbers reaching out to her.
Recognise how you’re feeling but don’t let it overwhelm you. Please get in touch if you need support“Women know they can come to our get togethers without being judged. We may have friends who want to support us with our mental health problems, but nobody understands it quite like someone who has been through it,” says Linda.
Linda’s meetings and the Whatsapp group she created really proved a lifeline for many of these women who were able to share stories and swap advice in a safe environment.
Since the coronavirus pandemic and the enforced isolation for most of us, Linda’s Ladies has gone virtual, with Linda providing regular get togethers via Zoom and updating the group’s Facebook page daily.
“I just want women to know that we’re still here - for a chat, a cry or whatever – and I’d encourage anyone new who’s struggling with their mental health right now to get in touch,” she says.
“The need for routine is important when it comes to mental health and the times we’re living in now can make that really challenging. On the group chat, we’re sharing ideas about timetables to keep to a routine, breaking the day down into segments and other ways to plan for the day ahead.”
Linda encourages any women going through a tough time, to get in touch with her via Linda’s Ladies on Facebook and Twitter.
“It’s really important that we keep thinking positively and stop overthinking which is easier said than done for people with mental health problems,” added Linda. “Recognise how you’re feeling but don’t let it overwhelm you. If we all pull together, we’ll get through this. Please get in touch if you need support. I don’t promise to be able to fix anyone but I will always try and help.”
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And finally, let’s hear it for our smaller, community shops like Best One on Jeanfield Road.
During the recent spate of panic buying in larger stores they were offering anyone over the age of 60 free bags of pasta and a single toilet roll.
A Story of Food Poverty, Charity and Working Together
June 17th Wednesday 2020
Hayley is raising funds for Clic Sargent, the Children’s Cancer charity that supported her since she was diagnosed with a rare brain tumour.
June 4th Thursday 2020
Join The Debate Night Audience in Perth
May 18th Monday 2020