COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2) – Lockdown 2021 Update

At Leith Community Crops in Pots, we are aware of the complex challenges that this new lockdown brings to all of us. The virus is spreading fast, we do not know enough about the new variant, and we must protect the most vulnerable among us and our health services. Taking these points into consideration, we fully support the Scottish Government in reintroducing strict lockdown measures (and we welcome that, throughout this crisis, Holyrood has been clear-minded and steady in comparison to Westminster). As an organization, we will fully comply with what the government asks of us to stay at home.  

At the same time, we are close to our community, and we know that many in Leith continue to experience hardship and deprivation. From our first lockdown experience back in March 2020 we know that hunger, loneliness, and isolation have increased severely due to this crisis. These hardships are even more severe for the most vulnerable and those with pre-existing disadvantages, such as homeless people, those on no or low income, and people of colour. At the same time, small local businesses, local traders and artists have been hit hard – they cannot weather such a crisis as rich multinational corporations can, and they depend on economic outlets for survival. Many parents are at the end of their strength due to prolonged home-schooling, and many children miss seeing their friends and growing up in a stable, stimulating environment that nourishes their talents and interests. As an organization, we stand in solidarity with all these communities and businesses. 

Throughout 2020, we’ve fed almost 100 people daily for weeks; enabled more than 170 people to volunteer in our market garden, café and farmers market, which for many proved crucial for mental and physical well-being; gave more than 30 local ethical businesses a commercial outlet through our weekly farmer’s market; employed artists and traders to run over 80 online and in-person workshops; gave more than 40 children, some of them with increased disadvantages, outlets by making fires and building shelters on the Croft; and much more. 

For us, standing in solidarity means taking action to better the other’s situation. However, given this new variant and the speed of its transmission it is with a very heavy heart we have decided to take much of our work into online platforms. Sadly, we have reached the highest death rate since the very start of the pandemic. It is higher now than it has been throughout 2020. 

Whilst we understand the urgent need to stay at home, protect the vulnerable, and save lives, we remain deeply concerned about the implications for our market traders, and our freelance team who face financial hardship because of our decision. We are heartbroken for those suffering food poverty, we feel uncomfortable at not being active in helping those in need, we hold a deep concern for those suffering mental health issues and loneliness too. For these reasons we will be reviewing this situation every day to see what more we can do to help. As soon as it is considered safe to do so we shall be back brighter than ever to help.  

We have not abandoned all operations though, we are planning some uplifting spirit rousing online activities for all to enjoy. Our Croft Carbon College will continue to offer high-level environmental education online, with a pay as you feel system where possible.  

For now, we wish everyone strength and perseverance through this time that is testing us all.  

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