Highland Council update on supporting ‘at risk’ people in the community

30 March 2020

Highland communities helping people ‘at risk’ to protect themselves from coronavirus

The Highland Council is responding to the Scottish Government’s communication last week on “shielding” people ‘at risk’ from coronavirus.  People with specific health conditions which put them at higher risk of harm from the virus will receive letters from the NHS advising them they must self-isolate for 12 weeks to protect themselves and reduce the risk of hospital admissions.

Anyone receiving a “shielding letter” can contact the Council for support during their period of self-isolation.  People in this position may need different types of support and that might change during the 12 weeks. Some people may need no assistance at all because they have family or friends who can help.

Those seeking help are being asked to use the Council’s dedicated helpline at (01349) 886669 or complete a form online at www.highland.gov.uk/shielding to provide their contact details and the type of support they require.

The Council will gather the information about who needs support through a new virtual Community Hub that has been set up. This information will be passed to one of ten Local Community Hubs set up by the Council to get support to the people requesting it.

The Local Community Hubs will be in Nairn; Aviemore; Inverness; Fort William; Portree; Ullapool; Dingwall; Invergordon; Golspie and Wick.  They are not open to the public to ensure we comply with public health social distancing guidance.

The Local Community Hubs will co-ordinate activity to support people across Highland.  Staff from the Council and partner organisations will work alongside community groups to provide this local support.  Already over 240 groups have offered help and that number continues to grow.  Many groups are already providing an invaluable service to their communities.

We recognise that in addition to those individuals who have been advised by the NHS to self-isolate, there will be other people who need support.  This may be support now or in the coming weeks because people need to self-isolate or need additional help. Anyone requiring support during self-isolation can call the Council’s new helpline at 0300 303 1362 and select the ‘need help with welfare’ option.  We will prioritise support for those with shielding letters but will also help other vulnerable people.

If any further groups want to offer support to help people self-isolate, please fill in the on-line form at https://www.covidhelp4highland.org/volunteering.html or call the Council’s new helpline at 0300 303 1362 and select the ‘want to offer support’ option.  The Council is working closely with the Highland Third Sector Interface (HTSI) in co-ordinating all offers of help.

Individuals interested in helping local groups can fill in a form to register their interest  here https://www.covidhelp4highland.org/volunteering.html, or call the Council’s new helpline at 0300 303 1362 and select the ‘want to offer support’ option.

The Scottish Government are encouraging people to volunteer as well via a national helpline and the Ready Scotland website, through the British Red Cross (BRC). We are working closely with the BRC to link these Community Reserve volunteers in Highland with our local support network and Highland Third Sector Interface.

Advice for community groups:

A checklist on Ready Scotland website has advice for community groups that can be used by any group of people who want to help people in their community through the coronavirus outbreak in a way which is safe, sustainable and protects the vulnerable.

Follow advice – protect yourself and those you want to help

  • By protecting yourself and your family you are already supporting your community by reducing the spread of coronavirus.
  • Do not volunteer to help if you or a member of your household has symptoms.
  • Follow the appropriate isolation advice before resuming any volunteering activities, and check our guide on helping in your community safely.
  • All the latest evidence-based advice on protecting older and vulnerable people is on NHS Inform. Before you make any plans with your community, please ensure you are familiar with this advice.



Highland Council plea to public

27 March 2020

For immediate release

Public urged to keep eyes and ears open for children at risk during COVID-19

With the closure of schools and nurseries during the COVID-19 crisis, a national child protection group is urging everyone to keep their eyes and ears open for children who may be at risk during this time.

Child Protection Committees Scotland, a national grouping of child protection professionals, supports all efforts by the Scottish Government, local authorities and the third sector to keep children safe from harm during the enforced break in normal routine.

Highland Child Protection Committee recognises the impact a significant change in day-to-day life may have on vulnerable children.

“Schools and nurseries in Highland play a central role in contributing to the safety of all local children, especially those who may be at risk of abuse and neglect. When children are not at school we lose the ability to monitor their wellbeing on a daily basis, and we are making every effort possible to support those children and families who may need it during these demanding times.”

However, Highland Council stresses the need for the public to join efforts to protect potentially vulnerable children during the Coronavirus outbreak. Chief Social Work Officer, Karen Ralston urges everyone to play a part to keep local children safe:

“The onus of care has now shifted from schools to local communities, and we’re asking everyone to keep their eyes and ears open. Local people always provide a significant protective factor for children and that’s even more important at a time when families may be under significant additional stress. If you’re at all worried about a child’s welfare, it’s much better to say something than do nothing.”

Highland Child Protection Committee urges everyone to take action if they’re concerned about a child or young person. If you’re worried don’t hesitate to seek help.

Full contact details for social work and other professionals are available on the website www.hcpc.scot. If you are worried a child or young person may be at immediate risk of harm, please phone 999.

Highland Council Trading Standards Update

27 March 2020

For immediate release

Highland Trading standards advice and guidance on COVID-19 and scams

The Highland Council’s Trading Standards is providing advice and guidance to businesses and consumers affected by COVID-19 at www.highland.gov.uk/tradingstandards

David MacKenzie Trading Standards Manager said: “We are currently providing information for consumers and businesses on cancelled bookings for accommodation and services; hand sanitiser products; and financial protection for small businesses at present. We will add to our website as more intelligence and information becomes available to us.”

Cancelled bookings for accommodation and services

Many Highland tourist businesses face the problem of cancelled bookings. Consumers are unable to travel due to the COVID-19 restrictions and many businesses are forced to temporarily close. These are uniquely difficult times for Highland businesses, and we want to ensure that they are aware of all the options available to assist in these situations. We think that it is reasonable for businesses to make their customers aware of these options. For example:

• If the consumer has paid using a credit card and the amount is over £100, they may be able to claim their money back from their card provider under “Section 75” equal liability rules.

  • If the payment was by debit card, the consumer may be able to make a claim from their card provider under the banking system’s “Chargeback” provisions.
  • The consumer may be able to make a claim on holiday insurance, e.g. an annual policy, more information is available from the Financial Conduct Authority
  • Any dispute that a consumer has with a financial company over insurance, credit cards or debit cards can be raised with the Financial Ombudsman Service. This is a free-to-use and highly regarded dispute resolution system.
  • It may suit both consumer and business to arrange a rebooking for a later date.
  • Detailed information for tourist businesses can be accessed from VisitScotland.

    Hand sanitiser products (not soap-based etc.)

  • Hand sanitiser products are in huge demand and some products are no longer available. Demand has led to some businesses (e.g. spirit distillers) diversifying into producing hand sanitising products. Products which are manufactured with the final intention of “destroying, deterring, rendering harmless, preventing the action of, or otherwise exerting a controlling effect on, any harmful organism” are currently controlled under the European Biocidal Products Regulations 2012under a category defined as Product-type 1: Human hygiene. Biocidal products in this group are used for human hygiene purposes, applied on or in contact with human skin or scalps for the primary purpose of disinfecting the skin or scalp.
  • Trading Standards enforce these regulations in shops, but the current rules surrounding the manufacture and approval of these products need to be checked with the Health & Safety Executive (HSE)
  • Hand sanitisers made for your own personal use are excluded from the Regulation, however if it is supplied to third-parties then the law applies, and advice should be sought from the HSE.
  • Soap-based or hand softener gels and creams with an antibacterial effect are regulated under cosmetic regulations.
  • Advice from the Cosmetic, Toiletry and Perfumery Association.

Financial protection for small businesses

  • Individuals buying goods or services over £100 and less than £30,000 using a credit card are given additional protection if there has been a breach of contract under “Section 75” equal liability rules.

Businesses who use ordinary (non-business) credit cards facilities may also benefit from the same protections even if it is in relation to items or services bought for the business.

Card users should speak to their provider if they wish to make a claim. If a business has a right to make a claim and this is not honoured by the card provider, small businesses may be able to raise this matter with the Financial Ombudsman Service.

The Scottish Government has also issued general advice to businesses, visit: https://findbusinesssupport.gov.scot/coronavirus-advice

Goodbye and wishing you well

End of term message shared this morning…


We look forward to returning to school on Tuesday April 14th but will be in touch before then to let you know about school arrangements for Term 4. Thank you again for your support throughout this week with the new online learning provision and helping to provide continuity and reassurance for our MOL children at this time. Remember you can email if you have any concerns and I will get back to you as soon as I can over the holiday period.

With best wishes,

Mrs Snedden


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Refunds for School Trips

The office have been busy organising refunds for the P6 Edinburgh and P7 Craggan residential trips which were both due to take place next term. I’m sure you’ll understand the difficulties we are encountering managing this during a time of school closure.

As noted previously, all children will receive a complete refund of the money they have paid for the trips.

We have now organised cheques for all families of P6 children to refund payment for the trip and these will be posted to you.

Refunds for the Craggan trip will follow and we will keep you updated of this as soon as we know when we will be able to send this out to all parents. We thank you for your understanding with this as the school works with insurers and Craggan to organise the money due. Thank you

Last day of term…

So we have arrived at the end of a term which has been both unexpected and unprecedented in its nature. It has been so positive to see how we have been able to work together to continue to provide continuity for our children. Thank you to all pupils, staff, parents and members of the wider community who have come together to make online learning possible over the past week. We know there will be much to learn from and build on over the coming weeks but it is clear that the children of our school have been able to set themselves up for this new phase of learning at a challenging time for everyone, and we are grateful for everyone’s time and effort in making this happen.

As we now enter the holiday period, teachers will not be allocating specific learning on the google classrooms, nor EYPs for nursery children on SeeSaw. However, there are a number of sites which have been shared with us which you may find useful for your children over the coming weeks and we will share these with you.

We have consulted as staff on the online learning over the past week, and we have asked children for their feedback too. As promised, the link below invites you to share your opinion on this experience as parents and carers, and we will use your feedback to help inform our plans for next term. We do not yet know when schools will re-open; however, we will meet again and continue with learning on Tuesday April 14th.


Wishing you all a safe and happy holiday from the whole school team,

Mrs Snedden