Lasswade pupil reveals how Covid-19 has affected the Midlothian charity she volunteers with

I am a sixth year Lasswade High School pupil who was been given the task of writing a story on how Covid -19 has affected Bright Sparks as part of my Nat 5 course.

Friday, 26th February 2021, 1:00 pm
Bright Sparks volunteer Samantha Gough.

I am a Bright Sparks volunteer as well as a young woman who has attended Bright Sparks since I was 18 months old. I am registered blind, hearing impaired and have autism.The Bright Sparks project was abruptly stopped as the country went into lockdown in March 2020, having to adapt its service in response to the Covid-19 Pandemic.

A new project initiative was created. The team established immediate support to families during a time of great uncertainty and anxiety.

The very creative team got their thinking caps on and established Zoom parent support sessions, so parents could stay connected, share experiences and continue to support each other.

Through the Let’s Cook Together project we supplied ingredients and recipe cards, receiving great feedback as families made homemade soup, breakfast and baking packs etc.

With rapid response funding Bright Sparks supplied a craft bag of various resources for each family.

This helped creativity, concentration skills, encouraged family time and helped reduce anxiety.

No one could have imagined that almost a year on the support is as important now as it was then.

Food donations from Tesco, M&S, Asda, Aldi and Tesco Express see volunteers distributing over 200 food bags to Bright Sparks families every week.

Lockdown has effected many people’s mental well-being, leaving them socially isolated or suffering financial hardship.

Families have relied on support from Bright Sparks during the pandemic. And the charity hasn’t let lockdown stop them.

The team of volunteers have contributed so much of their time in making sure families feel supported. Delivering food to their doors, they have had a great team of mums and dads willing to deliver the food parcels .

I would like to highlight this to the community, acknowledging the hard work and dedication of the Bright Sparks volunteers.

We as a community appreciate the hard work they continue to do throughout these difficult times.

I’d like to finish with a wee story. On Christmas Eve the team of Bright Sparks volunteers collected nearly 300 trays of food from M&S Straiton which included over 100 turkeys, and all of the food made its way to Bright Sparks families that Christmas Eve.

The volunteers giving up their festivities to support as many families as possible. It’s like it was a top secret mission as the event went unreported.

One family involved posted on Facebook: “We had the best Christmas Eve with the best people, helping deliver food parcels to Bright Sparks families from M&S. It made my Christmas.“Love the people you are with and enjoy every moment. It’s not the Christmas we are used to, but life is what you make it. Merry Christmas.”