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Inverurie retailer joins in with Viral Kindness Scotland project

By David Porter

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A project to bring together local groups and volunteers across Scotland has helped hundreds of people struggling during the coronavirus outbreak.

Viral Kindness Scotland received over 2900 contacts during its first week of operation, equivalent to one person or organisation getting in touch nearly every three minutes.

It has connected hundreds more in recent days as well.

More than 600 local businesses and organisations have now registered to be part of the community-led project including McLeish of Inverurie.

Viral Kindness Scotland has partnered with convenience stores across Scotland to ensure there is food available for the vulnerable.

It is building an army of volunteers to deliver vital goods or provide a friendly voice to talk to, as well as identifying vulnerable people who need help, and making vital connections with local volunteers, businesses and charities.

In the north-east, McLeish, the award-winning independent convenience store owned and run by retailer Scott Graham in Inverurie, has joined the project.

Viral Kindness Scotland will be sending 500 postcards to the store which local shoppers can fill out and return via freepost, offering to volunteer or identifying someone who needs help.

Kingswells Village Hall near Aberdeen has also offered its hall to help with the region’s coronavirus response.

The national project has now joined forces with the Scottish Grocers Federation to encourage more stores to join the scheme, as well as Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland so that the charity’s kindness volunteers can be referred to the Viral Kindness Scotland networks, and vice versa.

The project is also supported by the Jo Cox Foundation, and has connected charities such as BEMIS and Human Appeal, which resulted in 100 food parcels and 100 hygiene packs being packaged and delivered to vulnerable families this week by volunteers at the Crookston Community Group in Glasgow.

The service is designed to complement the Scottish Government’s national volunteering campaign, focusing on being a community-led hub to build connections.

Viral Kindness Scotland can be contacted via the website www.viralkindness.scot, on freephone 0800 054 2282, and via Facebook and Twitter.

Owner of McLeish in Inverurie, Scott Graham said: “The Viral Kindness Scotland project is a fantastic community initiative which we’re delighted to support.

“Stores like ours are at the heart of communities, so if we can help identify vulnerable people or make people aware how to volunteer in Inverurie, it will make a huge difference for those struggling at this difficult time.”

Chairman of national contact centre Go-Centric, which is administering the project for free, David Harper said: “My team have fielded thousands of contacts, and the number keeps on increasing every day.

“There are people who need help, people who want to help, and businesses which want to help, and we’re acting as a central point to co-ordinate this and bring individuals and organisations together at this time of crisis.

“I am proud of the work my team are doing morning day and night and they are getting a lot of satisfaction from helping.”

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