At the very start of lockdown, the Trustees of Colinton Village Enterprise SCIO, held our first Zoom meeting. We knew we would not hold our Tea in the Park event in May (a small gathering for a brew, biscuits, a blether and live music). We also decided that we would not plan for our far larger, biennial event, Art in the Park, usually held in September – the largest, outdoor event in Southwest Edinburgh, our flagship gala so to speak. 

Of course, we continued to have other matters to attend to, not least the progression of our Community Asset Transfer of the outbuilding in Spylaw Park, affectionately known to us as ‘The Shed’. The disposal of the asset from Edinburgh Council to our organisation was agreed in early March. Following this, we received further good news a few weeks later that our application to the Scottish Land Fund for development funding was successful.

This was all very welcome of course during an otherwise bleak time, but we thought about what we could do during the pandemic to make a difference. While we have no means to store or cook food, one item we had in abundance was pre-loved books. So, we set out to first of all see if we could raise money for nearby organisations who were operating as food providers to their service users and nearby families.

Organised by CVE Trustee Jennie Loudon, books are sold in bundles of five for £2, their titles visible in the photos provided on Facebook or by email. The books can be picked up locally, following current social distancing guidelines. All proceeds are passed on to other charitable enterprises. We also started to donated books to foodbanks and other charitable enterprises, feeding minds if not bodies.

Our next part in resilience efforts began in May when we became aware of an availability of soap from Glasgow the Caring City charity (part of their SoapAid initiative), through a connection with local Covid-19 assistance group, Edinburgh Coronavirus Support. Having quickly helped arrange direct deliveries to 3 organisations, we also took delivery of 2,000 individually packed bars. Over the next few weeks, we got to work to reach many people as possible who would welcome this initiative. Unsurprisingly, it was not difficult to distribute every bar to local grassroots organisations providing food or comfort packs to keep vulnerable people supplied during lockdown.

We have now donated a large quantity of books or soap or both to The Edinburgh Food Project, Space & Broomhouse Hub, LOVEGorgie Farm, WHALE Arts, SCOREscotland, Wester Hailes Youth Agency, Big Hearts Community Trust, Streetreads /Streetwork, Edinburgh High School BMC Foodbank, Calders Community, The Eric Liddell Centre, Commmunity One Stop Shop, Edinburgh City Mission, The DOCE Centre & DOVE Transport, Holy Trinity Foodank and Bethany Christian Trust.

Going forward, Colinton Village Enterprise plans to strengthen the connections our organisation has made during the past few months, so that we can become a useful charity partner. We hope to be part of a better, fairer future for all.

(Update provided by Colinton Village Enterprise)