• Author: James Coutts

    Beth Fyfe Falconer

    Nominated by: Volunteer Midlothian – Transform

    Connect Online provides digital support to older people, helping them navigate technology, maintain independence, keep in touch and feel part of things. Transform is a project for young volunteers with the aim of increasing their confidence and enhancing their employability prospects. During lockdown, Volunteer Midlothian brought these two projects together to achieve a more intergenerational focus. Soon afterwards Beth came forward as a digital champion. She attends groups every week to share her research and give guidance to the Connect Online project about new and emerging technologies. Beth has proven herself to be an outstanding and very committed young volunteer over the past 12 months.

    Katrina Drennan

    Nominated by: Penicuik Ambassadors

    Katrina is one of the volunteers who got involved with the Penicuik Ambassadors at the beginning of the pandemic as a shopper, befriender and prescription collector. She also co-leads for Penicuik Community Mask Makers, who make and deliver free fabric masks, and has supported the Penicuik Community Events Team in distributing Santa letters to local children. She’s had an amazing impact over the past 12 months and has proven herself to be a highly valued member of the local community in Penicuik.

    Kathryn Gordon

    Nominated by: Home Link Family Support

    Kate is one of Home Link Family Support’s (HLFS) team of volunteer befrienders. She is currently supporting an HLFS client to improve their spoken English skills via weekly bespoke Zoom lessons. Kate’s careful preparation and partnership with the client have been outstanding, leading to improved confidence and employability for the person concerned.

    Make a change in your community

    The COVID-19 pandemic has brought out the best in Midlothian communities. We’ve seen people banding together to look after neighbours and the environment. Now is time to think about the next steps and keep that energy going. Do you want to make change in your community?

    Midlothian Council’s Communities and Lifelong Learning Service and Midlothian Voluntary Action have created a free four-week introductory course to community changemaking which starts on 1 June 2021. The course will be led by Daniel Baigrie (Midlothian Council) and Rebecca McKinney (MVA), both with many years’ experience in community development and changemaking.

    Find out more about the course.

    Artists supported through youth arts programme

    Made in Midlothian, in partnership with Midlothian Voluntary Action, has selected seven freelance artists to deliver creative projects with young people across local communities.

    Funded by Creative Scotland’s Youth Arts Small Grants Scheme, the successful applicants are:

    • Adie Baako, West African Dancer of Akrowa UK
    • Ailis Paterson, Drama Facilitator
    • Annie Lord, Artist and Performer
    • Hannah Edi, Actor and Teacher
    • Laura Baigrie, Play Services Manager and Arts Practitioner
    • Lea Taylor, Professional Storyteller and Author
    • Mary Turner Thomson, Author.

    Each artist will shape their projects with young people taking the lead on what’s created. The programme will culminate in a showcase in March 2022 where young people will have a chance to display or perform their art. In addition to this, they will have an opportunity to list their art on Made in Midlothian’s online marketplace. 

    To learn more about their projects visit www.madeinmidlothian.com/mim-youth-arts-programme

    Virtual meeting best practice

    "Zoom meeting" by chericbaker is licensed with CC BY-NC-SA 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0

    A poor internet connection, a frozen screen and Zoom fatigue are all problems that those of us taking part in video meetings have experienced during the pandemic.

    For all the downsides, video meetings have allowed some organisations to keep working under lockdown, and they can also be easier to attend for those with mobility issues or busy schedules. The technology reduces the costs of holding meetings, and businesses are now less dependent on office space.

    If your organisation wants to keep holding official meetings online or by phone (such as AGMs) after 30 March 2021, you may need to update your governing documents.

    Over the next three weeks we’re going to publish a series of blog posts that outline how to work out if you need to update your governing documents to allow for continued online meetings. We’ll provide some sample lines to use, and share case studies on what other businesses have learnt from holding meetings online. Topics we’ll cover will include how to manage online voting, preparing for those potential technical hitches and avoiding disruptive ‘Zoombombing’.

    Keep an eye on the news page over the coming weeks- follow us on Facebook or Twitter and we’ll let you know when the next post is live.

    On 24 February we’re holding a free workshop for Midlothian third sector organisations that may need to change their governing document to allow virtual meetings.