Minutes April 2020

The second digital NCC meeting including Councillor Jim Muirhead, assigned officer Sandra Banks from Midlothian Council (Communities & Lifelong Learning), Connor Wright and Brian Tannerhill MBE. The meeting highlighted the impact and successes of Newtongrange Resilience Volunteers (NRV) and NC1 receiving Lottery funding. Brian Tannerhill introduced his “Last Hurrah” proposal to council for discussion. Cllr Muirhead reported on current situation for MC, police report, groups congregating, Welfare Park and VE Day promotion discussed.

7pm-9:45pm Tuesday 28th April 2020 on Zoom unable to meet @ NCEC due to Covid-19

Members Present In Attendance
  • Andrew Marshall (Deputy Chair/Sec)
  • Jeremy Adderley (Chair)
  • June Robertson
  • Jason Ferry
  • Linda Anderson
  • Ross Anderson (Minutes Secretary)
  • John Muir
  • Liz Wilson
  • Margaret Evans
  • Sandra Davidson (Midlothian Council)
  • Cllr. Muirhead
  • Connor Wright
  • Brian Tannerhill
See Agenda
  1. Welcome and introductions – Apologies from Ann Gunn & Cllr. Johnstone who sent email 28/4/20 April report * .
    1. JA welcomed Cllr. Muirhead and Sandra Davidson (SD) assigned worked from MC Communities and Lifelong Learning specifically for COVID-19 concerns. Please let Sandra know of any initiative in Newtongrange sandra.davidson@midlothian.gov.uk.
    2. JA – thanked Andrew Sharp, Connor Wright (CW) and Brian Tannerhill (BT) for their initiative which started on Thursday 21/10/20 for the COOP staff (thanks to Newtongrange key workers Lone piper video). CW & BT were in attendance with BT arriving at 8pm to discuss the Gala and the expansion of the Pipers’ March culminating in a Community Event and possible memorial to key workers with NCC asked to offer guidance and support to the project (this item not on original agenda). 
  2. Police Report 
    1. Between 30th March 2020 and 28th April 2020 in beat area MS03 Newtongrange there were:
      1. 20 recorded crimes reported, of which 15 to date have been solved. This is a detection rate of over 75%.
      2. 134 calls to Police.
    2. (ii) LA stated the increased road traffic coming to Main St. to and from Newbattle Road. JA had reported the matter @ Federation meeting 24.4.20.  Cllr. M to report matter to police at next MC Community Planning Partnership meeting on Wednesday 29.4.20.
    3. (iii) Items of Note – Please note that our Community Team email address is not for reporting crime or ongoing incidents. Such incidents should be reported by calling 101 (non-emergency) or 999 (emergency). Any medical issues related to COVID-19 should be reported to NHS 111 and not Police
    4. (iii) Police Scotland consults with the public every year on what the priorities are for policing the community, The consultation process is moving online to a digital format and consultation will be open all year. The link to the survey is www.scotland.police.uk/yourviewcounts
  3. Minutes of Previous Meeting/ Matters Arising
    1. March minutes approved after RA changes a number of points: AM mentioned no communication received from Gareth regarding Masterplan.
    2. Fiona Horne (not Brooks) has ‘Bryan Road Blitz’ community event photographs which will be supplied.
    3. CW to discuss old swimming pool hoarding refresh with Ross Lyall and offered social media help to NCC.
  4. Newtongrange resilience – update from Jason/Jeremy
    1. JF summarised NRV processes in place with teams of 2 coordinators per zone & go-to volunteers and distribution of media. Media relating to NRV & NC1 has been quite high profile and JF was surprised by the low contact and trauma. JA noted anecdotally likely due to strong neighbourly community, friends & family providing a network of resilience already in the village and noted some people did not want to be helped by local networks but asked have we reached everyone we can? Fiona Horne NC1 has take more NRV leaflets to distribute with meals and Jo Dunlop redoing flyer to go with prescriptions.
    2. Prescription pick-up as well as medication delivery offered via NRV, with Jo Dunlop amending wording on promotional documentation to better reflect this. Although JF mentioned the pharmacies are operating strict guidelines on how the volunteers can serve customers.
    3. Emergency food provision via NRV akin to the Red Cross is also available. Last week promotion on Black Diamond, banners and leaflets done.
    4. Messages of support from Dr Grace Vickers (MC Chief Executive and Christine Grahame) Midlothian MSP regarding the professionalism of the team & NC1.
    5. JA updated from the grant monitoring form to MC approximately 77 used service, with 34 households catered for by NC1 and Easter wellbeing packs also distributed; 65 referrals from MC. The total spend of grant from MC (28.4.20) £1,000.81 spent in a very frugal nature. With free food provision networks thanks to great relationships forged with Costco, Tesco, Asda and Morrisons for the provision of free excess food with last delivery including healthy fresh fruit & vegetables. NRV concentrating on paid for orders from a limited list of items. This food can be distributed or made into soups etc by NC1. JA & CW confirmed The Church Management Committee that referrals have doubled. Friday church hall storehouse food public drop off suspended due to COVID-19, but people can donate via the COOP.
    6. JA mentioned the tremendous news that NC1 has been rewarded with National Lottery funding for on going resilience work in the village. Collectively we should take a long term view regarding COVID situation. In terms of promotion CW suggested a new banner and the revised flyers going out with the church foodbank distribution. Other marketing avenues from NCV already reached Black Diamond Radio, Sunday 5pm segment and Midlothian Advertiser.
    7. AM expressed a “well done for what everyone has done.” It may have had lower pick-up than expected but you do not know how it will go in the future. CW thinks it is great to see such community resilience. JA reported how people who are needing more/better support outwith COVID have been identified and that the volunteers expressed how important they felt maintaining resilience links and work in the community is.
  5.  a. Local lock down issues (Jason/Jeremy/June)
    1. JF remarked that noticeably more people going about, perhaps due to increasing ease with the situation. He phoned the police twice and on the second time mention a group of 15 max. in the park was unhappy with the outcome, “they hurried him off”.
    2. CW mentioned the photograph used in local press coverage Edinburgh Live/Edinburgh News of a group outside Scotmid on Main Street was actually pre-2020 due to an individual who appeared in the photo no longer living in the region and the store repainted since.
    3. JF said Ideal Store has re-opened and has now put in place a numbered limit of persons allowed in store after earlier concerns regarding procedure reported to PC Pendreich. Check to see number limit RA?
    4. JF reported to police large congregations of people at the BMX tracks in Lady Lothian Woods in the tree paths off Dalhousie Road and an unattended fire which he put out himself.  JF stated this area is land owned by Newtongrange Star (bequeathed for the benefit of the community). This is a fantastic resource for riders but not during the lockdown.
    5. JR mentioned that people were still accessing the clearly labelled closed Play Park. It appear that people are accessing from a barrier placed next to a gap in the hedge. JR asked Cllr. M if any increased security measure could be put in place?
    6. JF worried about mixed messages of latest guidelines. People perhaps thinking it is ok to spend time with friends which is not the case. He advises to phone and report to the police if groups congregating, some form of community policing.
  6. b. Young people and coming out of lock down – what support should be in place (Jeremy). JA highlighted mental health youth support helplines and the need for children to have social interaction. He asked Cllr M if MC were putting children first in their future planning. Cllr M said there was concerns for all people. MC trying to plan for different eventualities & timings but it is the Scottish Government who make the decision. In terms of schooling MC will prioritise transitional children Nursery-Primary & P7-S1 with a phased reintegration. Cllr M mentioned concerns of the population explosion in Midlothian and the capital project delays i.e schools and how feasible social distancing can be administered within classrooms, 
  7. Gala day, managing expectations (Jeremy) CW from the Gala Committee informed the group that the revised date for the gala is Saturday,  September 12 2020 subject to change. The committee’s aim is to do something for the community. With committee following government advice this may range from the full event, a smaller scale i.e private viewing of the ceremony (ticketed VIPs invited) or completely ticketed event. Sheryl update still to be passed to JA?
  8. Brian Tannerhill (BT) MBE Thursday Pipers’ March tribute to Newtongrange key workers and Last Hurrah proposal (This is a follow up from initial email/phone discussions between JA & BT):
    1. BT joined meeting at 8pm where we discussed the lone piper Andrew Sharp who played through the streets of Deanpark and arrived at the co-operative store car park at 8pm on Thursday 23/4/20. This event was captured on social media by CW and has been well received by the community. The piper(s) will then present a salute and say a few words of thanks to our honoured invited guest (representing their trade or vocation) ie (shop worker, nurse, police, cater, fire, council etc who by tradition will supply a dram for the piper before he pipes away from the car park. The number of pipers would increase every Thursday night. BT would like to enlarge this to cover the whole community of Newtongrange, culminating with all pipers arriving at the same car park at 8pm on the final day of our lockdown. For this recorded community event ‘The Last Hurrah’ with 100 hundred pipers to this BT asked NCC for support and guidance. NCC collectively had health & safety concerns with the increased number of pipers going against current government guidelines. Cllr M said he had not seen BT/JA correspondence advising “there should be no mixed messages. There will not be a switch flicked, no cut-off post, the large congregation of pipers is not appropriate at current time”.  LW felt NCC should advise “safe distance from our neighbours, show by example and respect”. JA mentioned email response from Ann Gunn where she was concerned about a gatherings of any type at the present time.
    2. Other issues discussed: 1. Mixed message from ‘stay at home save lives’,. 2. The attraction for the general public to follow the piper in large groups 3. police authorisation to proceed? BT mentioned communication with Ashley/Ashleigh 25/4/20 allowing lone piper to proceed 25/4/20. 4. Is weekly basis sustainable? 4. Volunteer piper safety of congregating together in confined areas (6-10 too many). 5. Pipers should be local. BT informed us that Octogenarian Andrew Sharp was transported by non-family member by car from Easthouses all of which are against current guidance. The piping should be incorporated into daily exercise allowance and start from different areas of Newtongrange not just Dean Park. 6. Already a number of musical tributes at the doors during the 8pm clap for carers. The handing over of whisky and close proximity gathering at COOP between key workers to piper should be removed due to current restrictions.  7. Funding issues post-lockdown with BT looking for gathering of 100 pipers to be recorded. £12,000 for local video production and commemoration DVD of event. This would need to include payment for travel and feeding bands. 7. BT confirmed Newtongrange Silver band along with national pipe bands asked to attend, should it not be local. 8. Length of restrictions preventing mass gatherings and public access.
    3. Majority of NCC who voiced an opinion thought a lone, local piper marching in only one street on a week by week basis would probably be welcome by the different households on a Thursday evening. The vast majority expressed concern about a group of pipers marching and gathering, as it would break the COVID-19 rules, and felt the CC could not support the activity at this time.
    4. JA to continue to liaise with BT on NCC behalf where appropriate to develop a gathering idea in keeping with guidance


  9. Community resilience ideas – from RA
    1. VE Day Project: RA was planning doing facebook posts relating to VE Day WW2 soldiers on war memorial. JF mentioned John Duncan/NCC involved 5/6 years ago with WW2 servicemen ommissions from war memorial. LA suggested looking to see whether the public had any photographs or memories to share of VE Day. CW checked to see if Gala committee had many 1945 images. JA mentioned doing a blog post. LA suggested planting a tree to remember those from the village lost to Covid with JA suggesting this could be left for NCC members to decide. RA to do blog/ facebook pot and involve Village Voice/WOIN.
    2. Newtongrange Gala programme cover competition entries on white boards at swimming pool? (Replace falling down letters) N/A at current time. Maybe contact RA contacted Gala committee member CW who suggested a promotional banner to be considered instead
    3. Support for Newtongrange Drawing Club by NCC purchasing approx. Alan Clark provided content ideas for 50 drawing kits/art equipment costing £300 approx. that could be picked up in communal place or distributed by Storehouse/NC1. This proposal was agreed with JA to organise purchase.
  10. Reports
    1. Cllr. Muirhead Correspondence
      1. Cllr Muirhead said he would look to get the grass cut in the park before VE Day although staff issues might prove a problem. The widening of walkways in parks and cemeteries a priority. JF asked how are the projections? to which Cllr M said MC are now in unchartered territory. They cannot furlough staff many of whom have volunteered to critical roles. There will be a huge financial impact
      2. School hubs community provision for 190 pupils across the county (5 per class, 4P & 35S classes. Newbattle Centre has gained national praise for digital excellence in Distance Learning. With pupils use of Glow a massive increase to 96% of pupils. 140 Chrome books have been provided to pupils who require them and mobile SIM cards are also available to those in need. JA asked if tablets could be made available for identified shielded group to be able to connect with friends/family like NHS. Cllr M said it would need to be commissioned simply schools at present.
      3. Cllr Muirhead stated 1,000+ free school meals distributed over region since school closures
      4. 2,400 people in shielding group with 1,535 people not requiring the MC food delivery service.
      5. Business Grant Scheme for Midlothian businesses were being processed by Edinburgh City Council with the grants now being received.
      6. Concern that MC is a growing local authority with currently £1,000+ council houses in the process of getting built. Plans considered at Community Planning meetings to how MC can get these built asap after getting construction go ahead. Idea to utilise local building trade & recently unemployed from MC & other local people.
      7. Glass collection (red box) restarted week beginning Monday 27th April. (
      8. Clr M was given assurance PPE situation in Midlothian met requirement, Cllr M unsatisfied that the nearest testing centre for local social care workers was Chalmers Street, Edinburgh, ideally much more local. 
      9. JA asked Cllr M about Midlothian care packages figures with regards to BBC Disclosure figures (HSCP 971 care packages -24) he was unaware but would discuss matter with MC Chief Executive, Dr Grace Vickers at Community Planning meeting 29/4/20.
      10. To JF’s suggestion of delivery only pharmacy prescription service  Cllr M acknowledged large queues for Midlothian pharmacies, with no police intervention. Chief Executive GV has offered MC drivers and LLyods chemist have been advertising for drivers. There are legal issues for volunteers to provide this service although NRV have offered PVG vetted volunteers.
    2. Planning and Treasurer’s:
      1. JM mentioned two  house extension plans in Newtongrange (no action)
      2. JM updated that NCC account £3,000.00 regular funds plus £10,000 COVID response funds deposited.  £1,000 of £10,000 grant fund spent from NCC account. £213 to Abbey Print for flyers and £385.54 to NC1. A number of direct debits including a Young Scot card reimbursement of £18.87.
  11.  JA to apply for Coalfield Regeneration Trust grant between £500-£1,0000 to produce a journal where local people can record their thoughts during lockdown. CW mentioned asking about Dean Tavern Trust grant on our behalf.
  12. Date of Next Meeting – Tuesday 26th May 2020 at 7.00 pm Zoom TBC – register here


*(see Clr Johnstone report sent by email 28/4/20):

Newtongrange Community Council – April 2020 (lockdown)

I’m still getting enquiries from residents by email mostly, occasionally phone messages.

The Council is committed to working on the emergency duties required to accommodate the pandemic. There is some members of staff not currently at work for a variety of reasons and all energies are being focussed on the pandemic issue that are known, and arise over the course of the working week.

PPE for Midlothian is currently in an ok situation
The use of ICU and general beds in the hospitals has capacity, if you need to access A&E you should do so by the normal routes.
The temporary morgue is now available for use – not currently being used.
Working on capacity and looking towards reinstating the garden refuse collection.
Lessons learned and preparing for a possible second wave.

We need to think about our “new normal” way of working – social isolation and distancing may remain in place for a while whilst a need to get back on track is important. For example busy public transport may encourage a bigger home working plan not just for council but other employers too.

If you can think of ways that have been successful in your area of work, hobbies etc can you share these ideas so we can recover well.

I wish everyone well, and that you all stay safe and healthy. I look forward to seeing you all the other side of this pandemic.


Ross Anderson

Ross Anderson

I'm involved with the Newtongrange Community Council because I want to help preserve the unique heritage, character & facilities of the village.

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