Councillor praises 'fantastic' community response in Caithness
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A CAITHNESS councillor has hailed the community response to the problems posed by the coronavirus as "fantastic".
Karl Rosie, who represents Thurso and Northwest Caithness on Highland Council, praised the way members of the public have reacted to the challenges of the lockdown restrictions.
He was speaking after local landscaping contractor Donald MacDonald and his son Jamie worked with Highland Council to cut the grass at Thurso cemetery. Councillor Rosie said plans are also being made to get volunteers to help at other Caithness cemeteries.
He explained that the maintenance of grounds including cemeteries had been halted due to the Covid-19 pandemic to protect the public and council staff.
"The coronavirus has obviously been a huge challenge for Highland Council and our communities," Councillor Rosie said. "The priorities were initially to ensure that vulnerable people across Caithness were cared for in terms of sustaining their self-isolation, ensuring that prescriptions, food and welfare were accommodated.
"The voluntary response across Caithness in reacting to the challenges has been fantastic.
"I have been humbled and proud to experience how the Highland third sector weekly meetings with around 40 participants, and chaired by Allan Tait of Caithness Voluntary Group, have developed at pace to meet those challenges.
"The scope of the task two months ago for everyone involved was immense, and the concerns with ensuring that people did not fall through the cracks due to the lockdown restrictions were uppermost in everyone’s mind," Councillor Rosie said.
I have been humbled and proud to experience how the Highland third sector weekly meetings have developed to meet the challenges.
He pointed out that voluntary support has also been enlisted for ground maintenance work provided it complied with Scottish Government guidance on social distancing and got the backing of the council's environmental health department and Police Scotland.
Councillor Rosie stressed that keeping areas clean and tidy is an important factor in "maintaining public morale at this time".
He added: "I want to thank Donald MacDonald, his son Jamie, and their team of Jordan Crawford, Murray Cameron and Peter Fraser for this kind gesture to the Thurso community.
"My colleagues, councillors Willie Mackay and Raymond Bremner [Wick and East Caithness], have also been active in working with local volunteers for the maintenance of cemeteries at Thrumster, Latheron and Keiss recently and discussions with Highland Council continue to explore how offers of voluntary support from the community may be utilised safely in the other cemeteries across Caithness."
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