Spring is here, and with it, the news that COVID-19 lockdown restrictions are due to ease over the next few months!
We know that, after a full year of lockdown, people feel their reserves are running a little low – personally, at work, and in their communities. While this is a very hopeful springtime, we are living through a time of incredible change and stress, and we need to recognise that.
As a result, we have launched our new Spring Forward campaign, continuing to help our communities in Falkirk look after each other, and themselves.
We’re still focusing on people’s health and wellbeing – everything from physical health (including COVID-19 vaccinations and how they are being rolled out) and mental health, to safe and fun Easter activities and things to do until restrictions ease, and financial worries.
(Image caption: a view of the River Avon at Muiravonside Country Park (via Visit Falkirk), with the text “Spring Forward with CVS Falkirk”.)
Previously, we would have organised events which brought together our local groups and services with our key partners, allowing people to access this information in person, but this year, we want to help Falkirk groups and communities promote their activities and efforts. The list below is the result of this.
We hope you find this page useful, and that you stay safe and well during this time. Remember, there is light at the end of this very long tunnel, and we are always here to help.
On Tuesday 16th March, Scottish Government announced their timeline for further easing of lockdown restrictions, in light of of decreasing COVID-19 numbers and increasing vaccinations, with further announcements on Tuesday 13th April. (Additional changes are available on the Scottish Government website.) Key points are listed below (and in this useful graphic):
- Friday 26th March: places of worship in Level 4 can reopen, with gatherings of up to 50 people, (where there is space for physical social distancing)
- Friday 2nd April: “Stay Home” rule replaced by “Stay Local” (your own local authority area)
- Monday 5th April (Easter Monday): outdoor contact sports for 12 – 17 year olds, click and collect for non-essential items, mobility shops and (non-mobile) hairdressers and barbers are permitted, amongst others, along with phased returns to college
- Monday 12thApril – Monday 19thApril: all pupils return to school full-time
- Friday 16thApril: 6 people from 6 households can meet outdoors, and travel within Scotland for outdoor socialising, recreation and exercise will be allowed; people must continue to “Stay Local” for other purposes (such as non-essential shopping), and public transport capacity will continue to be limited.
- Monday 26th April: (amongst others) a maximum of 6 people from up to 3 households can meet; travel within mainland Scotland permitted; all shops, gyms, libraries, museums and galleries open; hospitality and tourist accommodation open (with restrictions); weddings and funerals permitted up to 50 people.
- Monday 17th May: in-home socialising with up to 4 people from 2 households permitted; cinemas open; further in-person support services available
These dates all rely on COVID-19 numbers continuing to fall, and people adhering to current guidelines until these points.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said:
“It is not possible to provide specific dates or details for coming out of lockdown beyond 17 May – that will depend on what impact there is from the changes already made – however my hope and ambition is that from early June, all of Scotland will effectively be in level 1 of the levels system, allowing for a further easing of restrictions – and possibly moving to level 0 in late June.”
Further information is available on the 5 local protection levels, or “Tiers”, and a postcode checker to help people find the current restrictions in their area. These protection levels replace all previous restrictions and guidelines, with 0 being the lowest level of restriction, and Tier 4 the strictest, with law preventing travel in or out of Level 3 and 4 local authority areas, except for essential reasons. (Exceptions include: travelling to or from work, or to provide voluntary or charitable services, but only where that cannot be done from your home; travel to school; travel for essential shopping, for yourself or on behalf of a vulnerable person.)
Stay up to date with all COVID-19 restrictions via:
Easter 2021 represented hope and the promise of better times to come – the sun came out, COVID-19 restrictions eased enough to allow for some outdoor fun and many Falkirk third sector organisations and community groups showed that they are weathering the storm of COVID-19 and are ready to inject some fun and positivity into their own local areas!
Groups and organisations working together was the magic ingredient that brought Easter fun to our local communities, and we would like to say a huge thank you to all the groups who helped make this as lovely an Easter as possible.
For a full roundup of these incredible efforts, please visit the Volunteer Falkirk website.
If your group organised some fun for your community, please help us sing it from the rooftops and contact us by email:
Similar to our popular Halloween and Festive pages, we have gathered information on adapted and safe Easter activities across Falkirk, where local groups and communities are doing everything they can to make sure everyone is still able to enjoy the holiday (and the chocolate). The page features information on fun things to do with the kids until schools return, including activities, recipes, and much more!
For the full list, please visit the Volunteer Falkirk site.
We know that money worries or pressures add to the concerns of individuals and families, including isolation and the impact seen on mental health and physical health.
In order to help people in Falkirk, and help local groups and services support the people they are engaging with, we have pulled together some information and resources available to help maximise income for individuals and families, especially during COVID-19, including sources of financial assistance and debt counselling.
This new page includes information that families and individuals can access themselves as well as stakeholder and partner resources.
To read the full list, please visit the new Maximising Income page.
Our team and our partners have contacted community food providers throughout the Falkirk area, and confirmed that the majority will be open and providing food as normal over the Easter weekend and during the school holidays; you can get in touch with specific groups in your area via their contact details at the link below.
The list is organised alphabetically on our local directory; please share with anyone and anywhere you think people may need it this spring.
To access this list, please visit our local directory (linked for your convenience).
- COVID-19 Vaccinations in Falkirk
Work being done across Forth Valley to ensure everyone receives their COVID-19 vaccination. The vaccine is your best protection against coronavirus and NHS Scotland strongly recommends you get the vaccine when offered it.
As of Wednesday 31st March, all priority groups (which includes everyone aged 50 years old and over) should now have received an invitation to their COVID-19 vaccination appointment.
If you are in one of the priority groups and haven’t received your invitation letter, please complete the online form (linked for your convenience) or phone the COVID-19 Vaccination Helpline: 0800 030 8013 (8am – 8pm, 7 days a week).
Further information on the vaccine rollout in Forth Valley (including rearranging your appointment, attending your appointment and second doses) is available on the NHS Forth Valley website.
Information on the priority groups in Scotland is also available via the NHS Inform website.
- Mental Health Support in Falkirk
Our team has pulled together a list of the mental health services available in Falkirk, split into those providing immediate help and those who offer more general support.
The list is available to view or download as a pdf document (linked for your convenience); please share with anyone and anywhere you think people may need it.
Scottish Government has recognised the impact the pandemic and lockdown restrictions has had on people’s mental health and wellbeing. They have created ClearYourHead.scot, a website full of resources, information and reassuring messages to support people in Scotland during this time, including how important it is to take breaks from news and social media.
There is also a Winter Tips page, with information on clearing your head and connecting with others this winter.
The most important thing to remember is that daily life has changed for all of us in Scotland, and it can feel worrying, lonely and uncertain. It’s ok to not feel yourself.
For further information, please visit the ClearYourHead website.
- Men’s Mental Health Resources
Andy’s Man Club
Andy’s Man Club was set up in Halifax by the family of Andy Roberts after his death by suicide. The group provides per support for anyone who identifies as male or a man over 18 years old, encouraging them to talk and break down the stigma around men’s mental health and suicide.
There are now over 40 groups meeting weekly (currently online via Google Meets), with 6 groups in Scotland; they are keen to establish physical groups throughout the entire Falkirk area, with a number already planned for when restrictions ease. There is no cost to attend.
People who attend the group don’t have to be experiencing mental health issues or suicidal thoughts, and there is no commitment to return after one meeting. Everyone is welcome.
There are always 5 questions discussed at meetings, with the first 3 always the same:
- How has your week been?
- Something positive from the last week.
- Is there anything you want to get off your chest?
The group then takes a short break for tea and coffee, which is when members tend to share their own coping strategies and experiences. They then return for the last 2 questions, which tend to focus on reflective or positives.
For further information (including how to attend online groups, or donate), please visit the Andy’s Man Club website.
See Me Scotland
See Me Scotland has been working to highlight how important it is for anyone who identifies as male or a man to be able to talk about how they feel.
Their recent social media poll found that 39% of men were worried about the reactions of others when talking about their mental health, while 30% said that not knowing who to talk to stopped them from opening up.
Additionally, the number of probable suicides in Scotland has risen for the second year in a row, with the majority of these being men, according to new data from National Records of Scotland.
As a result, See Me Scotland is looking at why talking about men’s mental health is important, and what they, and everyone, can do to help.
Societal expectations and stereotypes around having to be strong and “manly” play a role in why men are less likely to talk about their mental health, or seek help for their mental health problems.
See Me Scotland has a series of resources, information and links to help combat this stigma, including myths around men’s mental health, and where to seek help.
For further information, please view the full web article.
We know people like to give to good causes throughout the year, and like many other sectors, the third sector in Falkirk (and across Scotland) has struggled as funding opportunities decreased while demand for their services rose due to COVID-19, and after many of their regular fundraising activities have been cancelled as a result of the pandemic.
You can donate at any time to any of the local food providers.
We’ve created a page specifically featuring support available for carers in Falkirk during COVID-19, including vaccination updates and dates of information sessions.
To view the full list, please visit the dedicated Support for Carers During COVID-19 page.
Unpaid carers (including young carers and young adult carers) who are looking for support can contact the Falkirk and Clackmannanshire Carers Centre:
If you or any member of your family need to isolate due to exposure to COVID-19, or have been advised to shield, there is support in place in Falkirk:
- Support for People helpline (Falkirk Council)
- open Monday – Friday, 9am – 5pm by phone: 0808 100 3161
- the team assists those who are most vulnerable in society as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, including those who need help to access food, medicines/prescriptions and other essential services. This will be prioritised for those who have no other way to access these
- Self-Isolation Support Team (Falkirk Council)
- working alongside the existing Support for People helpline to provide support to those who need to self-isolate, with daily updates from Public Health Scotland’s Test and Protect, of people within the Falkirk Council area who have either tested positive for COVID-19, or been identified as a close contact of a positive test
- the team contact people on the list, by phone, to check they have support in place to allow them to self-isolate correctly and to check if they are eligible for the £500 self-isolation support grant
While Spring has officially sprung, we all know the weather in Scotland can be unpredictable at the best of times, but especially during the season of change! That’s why we’ve kept this information from our Wellness in Winter page, because we know it’s likely to still be relevant.
Anyone travelling by car at all should make sure they are prepared for a breakdown; the AA has an online checklist on how to build your own winter survival kit for your car. They have also provided tips on driving safely in snow and ice, which may be especially useful for those living in the more rural areas of Falkirk, and other winter driving advice.
The winter survival checklist split into two sections: Winter Car Essentials and Winter Car Emergency Kit.
Winter Car Essentials
- ice scraper and de-icer (if you don’t remove snow and ice properly, you risk 3 points on your licence and a £100 fine)
- torch and spare batteries
- a fully charged mobile phone
- an in-car phone charger or power pack
- sat-nav or a printed route for an unfamiliar journey
- a road atlas
- first aid kit
- empty fuel can
Winter Car Emergency Kit
- warm clothes and waterproofs
- sturdy footwear
- a flask of hot drink
- hi-vis jacket
- warning triangles
- jump leads
For further information (including where to access these items), please visit the AA website.
If you would like to help us build this page or make us aware of anything you know going on, please contact us by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Alternatively, you can add your group or organisation’s details to our new online directory of local initiatives (including food banks and other services responding to COVID-19), to help people support their local efforts and find the help they need. You can add your details via the online form (linked for your convenience), or by emailing us.