With lockdown easing and the sun shining, it seems the right time to introduce ourselves as the new co-chairs of our thriving association, with a huge thank you, on behalf of our community, to Deborah and Tillie for their amazing work over the last three years.
In her professional life, Hilary was a High School teacher, working in various schools throughout East Lothian and Edinburgh. While no longer in the classroom, she has maintained her passion for education, along with her commitment to social justice and equality of opportunity. Hilary describes herself as “one of life’s volunteers,” having been and continuing to be involved in a number of different community groups, organisations, and social enterprises.
Hilary is currently the Chair of the ‘North Berwick Coastal Area Partnership,’ helping to drive forward community-led initiatives to tackle inequality across the ward, and – through this role – she has come to be part of North Berwick Health and Wellbeing Association.
Lorna says: “I align with Hilary in many ways, with volunteering and inclusion being at the heart of my childhood upbringing. I would say that I have spent the majority of my free time, supporting local community projects, both here and in Edinburgh. As a Health Promotion Specialist, I worked within the NHS, across education and community at local and strategic level. Employed to support Edinburgh University undergraduate medical teaching of Health Promotion, for the last four years, my work is varied, including general module teaching, alongside managerial and more recently, online work. I was involved in the successful bid for the Compassionate Communities project and was co-lead of the Health Promotion section with Fiona Watt, organising events for Fringe By the Sea, when lockdown halted our plans for this year!
“But lockdown did not thwart the work of this association, Compassionate Communities was put on hold, but Community Connections grew instinctively, supporting the immediate need of those coping in self -isolation. I became a participant befriender, joining as the group grew in numbers and meeting virtually in this strange new world we find ourselves in. Hilary and I will now support this strong project, as it moves forward, with a new management committee, towards charitable status.”
We have already begun building our relationships with partner organisations locally, recognising that a key purpose of this association is to bring together all organisations working for the good of the community. Our Compassionate Community project will re-start in March next year and our role, as a voice for the community, in health and social care re-provisioning talks will also begin again soon.
With plans to organise a community walk, in commemoration of Absent Friends, and involving our community partners in a Health and Wellbeing Week, we are excited about our new ventures.
There is so much that is going on to be celebrated. For example, I’d like to share a photo and some information from the Youth Project. They started an innovative project, organised by Lauren Cowie, last week, to get our local kids cooking at home, via zoom. It was such a success, that even Tom Kitchin, the youngest ever winner of a Michelin star and acclaimed Edinburgh chef, left a comment about how he had wished he had been involved on Twitter! He has now offered to join the project to offer some hints and tips, with Malcolm Ducks, from Aberlady, offering a zoom masterclass too! If you have something that you would like us to celebrate here, why not drop us a line and we will share it for you.
Watch this space, as we will publish things that are happening here to keep you up to date.
All the best,
Lorna and Hilary