The PACT board unanimously decided to provide direct assistance in our community, as well as to support the broader community effort in responding to the crisis.
We have agreed to commit funding towards the community response to the crisis through existing organisations, and our initial response is to provide funding as follows:
1. We will provide funds to the ABPCC community council’s resilient communities network which is rolling out a system to cover urgent shopping and necessary errands for isolating/vulnerable households within our ABPCC community council area. The funding will be used to cover out-of-pocket expenses for volunteers, as well as to provide a funding “float” so that volunteers are not put in the position of being owed money by vulnerable individuals. This funding will go hand-in-hand with any funds that the Scottish Borders Council distributes to the individual community councils to cover volunteer costs in the crisis. We have already transferred an initial sum of money to the Community Council and will remain in contact with them as they develop further funding needs for the efforts of the resilience network in our area.
• The council has set up area coordinators and each household should have a coordinator that they can contact for help if they need it.
• At its most simple, this help can be volunteer assistance with errands, shopping etc. If the area coordinators cannot provide the help themselves, they will find someone else to do it.
• The float fund will cover the advance costs of shopping and the householder will pay that back into the fund.
2. In addition, we recognise that there are activities that other organisations are carrying out in response to this crisis, and we would like to support their efforts. To start with, we are offering funds to both BAVS and A Heart for Duns (AHFD) to assist with their response to the crisis. Our initial funding to these two organisations is a direct grant/general support and is already approved by the board, therefore does not need to be applied for. As they develop their response to the crisis we will remain in contact with them as regards further funding issues. They are also keeping us informed of any particular services that they are providing, in response to the crisis, that would be open to households in our ABPCC / PACT geographical area and we will pass this information onto the resilience network. However, the initial general support funding is not necessarily tied specifically to benefits for “our” area.
• AHFD is coordinating volunteers similar to the ABPCC scheme, and helping households find volunteers for errands. They are providing an info sharing function for people to find out what is available and how to access it. Their area is Duns-focused, but might extend towards our area.
• BAVS is also using our funds towards their general response which includes the cost of services to vulnerable and isolated people – petrol, volunteer expenses, PPE etc., as well as staff time on communications and information sharing, including webinar support. They also have BAVS-owned vehicles that they can use in this effort. Residents in our area are able to access these services, and obviously there is some overlap with the resilient communities network.