The Coalfields Regeneration Trust (CRT) is helping charity Glasgow the Caring City get soap to people in former mining communities across Scotland to support the ongoing battle against coronavirus.
One of the biggest messages from governments and health experts to try to prevent the spread of Covid-19 is to watch hands thoroughly with soap and water. However, soap is hard to find in many shops due to the unprecedented demand.
Glasgow the Caring city, headquartered in Govan, was set up 20 years ago to help communities across the globe in times of need, such as following natural disasters or during civil conflict. One of its initiatives is SoapAid and the charity has now rolled this service out across Scotland with soap being distributed from its Glasgow resilience centre to community hubs.
The initiative prioritises such groups as frontline volunteers, NHS workers, looked after children and police officers to give them the best possible chance of avoiding the virus and breaking the chain of it spreading from person to person.
Ross Galbraith, founder of Glasgow the Caring City contacted CRT, which offers support to former mining areas, to see if they could help in getting soap to smaller towns and villages across the country. CRT reached out the communities it works with and they subsequently got in touch with Glasgow the Caring City. Groups have now been receiving deliveries of soap free-of-charge which are being dropped off by volunteers.
In total, about 90,000 SoapAid packs have so far been distributed across Scotland, with about 8,000 going to coalfields areas and the number is growing daily.
The high-quality soap is ethically and sustainably produced for Glasgow the Caring City at Soapworks in Easterhouse, an initiative established by Anita and Gordon Roddick, founders of The Body Shop, in the late 1980s. It has created jobs for people in the area who might otherwise struggle to find employment. The raw materials come from a farming co-operative in Colombia.
Gary Porter, development manager (regeneration) at the Coalfields Regeneration Trust, said: “We were really keen to help when Ross from Glasgow the Caring City got in touch to say that while they were getting SoapAid packages to urban areas in central Scotland, they realised there was a demand in former mining communities in other parts of the country, such as Fife and Ayrshire. He asked if we could assist in getting packages to those areas, so we got in touch with the community groups we work with and they in-turn contacted Ross.
“It’s great to see so many SoapAid packages going to people who really need it. We want to do everything we can to support former mining communities during such challenging times as a result of the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, and this is one example of how we can help by collaborating with a great charity.”
Ross Galbraith of Glasgow the Caring City said: “We’ve been sending SoapAid packages to countries in need across the world, such as war zones, for the last 20 years, but I never thought we would be doing so in Scotland. But coronavirus has changed everything and, as the government has said, washing hands with soap and water is the way to try to break the chain of viral transmission. Soap is the greatest tool we have in the fight against this virus.
“We have a well-developed network in Glasgow and other parts of central Scotland but I contacted CRT to help us get soap to people in other areas who are tackling the virus on the front line and various groups who really need it and are finding it hard to get.
“We do everything possible to protect our volunteers from the virus so they leave SoapAid packages at community hubs, keeping a social distance, rather than with individual households. We have plenty of soap available from our supplier SoapWorks and want to get it to those who need it most.”
Mike Trevett, social enterprise manager of Kincardine Community Association (KCA), which runs the Kincardine Community Centre and which received a delivery of SoapAid this week, said: “KCA are currently delivering food provisions to those most in need in the village and we would like to thank CRT for organising this delivery of soap, it is very much appreciated.”