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What if… COVID-19 stimulated our communities to be even stronger and more thriving?

While life was easier for many of us before COVID-19, below the surface “normal” was far from perfect. Often out of sight and out of mind, “normal” was a time of inequality with food banks getting ever busier across the country, of rising mental ill health, of loneliness, of social and political divisions, and of environmental and climate crises, and of economic instability. These problems are still there and getting worse, pandemic or no pandemic.

The What If Network

Dunbar, East Linton and the local villages have always been community-minded places with a get-it-done approach to making a great place to live even better. From organising gala days to Christmas lights, from sports clubs to arts events and much more. Local groups and their volunteers also provide help and support when it’s needed including running food banks and lunch clubs, providing training to vulnerable people, debt advice, etc. And of course the Community Councils and a range of local groups, including faith groups, have been central to the response to COVID-19.

We are now coming together to ask:

  • What if COVID-19 stimulated our communities to be even stronger and more thriving?
  • What if we, and others, put the energy and resources we applied to the immediate response to COVID-19 into creating a better future – right now?
  • What if we could influence local and national social, environmental and economic policies to create the sort of society we want and need?

The What If Network offers local groups, local people and key stakeholders spaces to think big, work out what’s most needed, and make it happen. We look forward to working with the Community Councils, Area Partnership and East Lothian Council; together with our allies we can bring additional resources, enthusiasm and energy to help shape a new and better normal for everyone.

An action network, not a talking shop

Making plans is (relatively) easy. But they’re useless unless turned into effective action and bring about worthwhile change. It won’t necessarily be quick and it will take hard work. A key element of this will be securing funding to extend and grow existing projects and to develop new ones.

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Dunbar tells Scottish Government what’s needed

To build a greener, fairer and more inclusive society in Scotland, we need to change the way the economy works. It’s important that government action to address the economic impact of COVID-19 also help build a more robust, more resilient Scottish economy.

The Scottish Government has appointed an Advisory Group on Economic Recovery to recommend how they can best do this. The Advisory Group asked for views to inform their work from a broad cross-section of organisations, businesses and individuals across Scotland. They wanted to hear from those impacted by COVID-19 and from those who will be critical to rebuilding Scotland’s economy in a greener, fairer and inclusive manner.