Wester Ross children create artworks to thank frontline workers

Maggie McNicoll gets to work

Children from Shieldaig Primary School and nursery have brought a ray of sunshine to the local area by creating artworks in support of frontline workers and the most vulnerable members of the community.

Thanks to a grant of £626 from the North Highland Initiative, local group Shieldaig Coronavirus Community Support was able to provide arts and crafts activity packs to the 22 children from the local primary and nursery.

Shieldaig Coronavirus Community Support is run by the five members of the Shieldaig Community Council in tandem with a resilience team of 12 volunteers who operate in different areas of the village.

Natalya Revitt who chairs the Shieldaig Community Council, told the Free Press that the idea for the arts and crafts packs came about to help local children and their parents during challenging times. She said: “As the weeks of lockdown passed it became clear to us that the children in our village were finding isolation particularly hard, as were their parents.

“We wanted to provide something for the children to do that would give them, and their parents, a break from the same routine.

“As part of the packs, we also worked with Julia Boger, the Shielding Primary School teacher, and set little tasks for the children to do using their new arts and crafts packs.

Shannon MacKenzie

“These include writing a letter to, or drawing a picture for, an elderly or vulnerable person in our community, colouring a poster to thank all our postmen and women, bin men, delivery drivers, shop staff, NHS, and key workers, and completing a Covid-19 time capsule workbook which will be included in the village record of how Shieldaig community came together to protect and help each other during this pandemic.”

She added: “Not to leave out our older young people, we also provided an Amazon voucher to each of the teenagers in our village which were very warmly received.”

Eilidh Matheson

In addition to securing a grant for the arts and crafts sets, the community council members have successfully applied for over £35,000 of funding to help provide fuel assistance grants, weekly care packages of essential groceries, household items, and compost and seed potatoes for anyone who has started to grow their own food.

The community support group has also created a thank you banner for the local GP surgery, delivered random acts of kindness to anyone nominated in the village, and will this week launch its latest project – The Grub Hub.

The Grub Hub is a new community food cupboard open to anyone living in Shieldaig and along the Applecross Peninsula.

Built by a local joiner Keith McNicholl, The Grub Hub will be located outside the village hall and will be stocked with non-perishable groceries and household items.

The simple message to the community when using The Grub Hub is, ‘give what you can, take what you need’.

Ms Revitt, who become Shieldaig Community Council Chair just days before Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the UK-wide lockdown, added: “With just five members on our community council, who were only elected in February, and met for the first time on 20th March 2020, we are very proud of how much we have achieved so far to help our community.”