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MP pays tribute to High Life Highland staff with an early day motion in the UK parliament

By Louise Glen

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MP Drew Hendry praises work of High Life Highland.
MP Drew Hendry praises work of High Life Highland.

A motion has been raised in the UK parliament to recognise the work of High Life Highland employees and management during the coronavirus pandemic.

Drew Hendry, MP for Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey, paid tribute to the more than 500 High Life Highland staff who signed up to volunteer during the pandemic and went on to congratulate the team on its efforts to get community facilities reopened.

He paid particular reference to the safe commencement of swimming lessons for 3,000 children across the Highlands.

The early day motion, which was lodged in parliament today, Monday November 16, also refers to the "outstanding efforts to support Highland communities by High Life Highland staff".

Mr Hendry highlights several online programmes supporting the well-being of residents including Macmillan Cancer Care, Move More, music tuition, youth work and adult learning, as well as the archives and libraries services.

Mr Hendry said: “Groups and individuals in our communities have been nothing short of incredible throughout this pandemic, and the dedicated staff at High Life Highland are no different. They have been a constant source of support and activity across the region, be that through voluntary work or the many innovative ways they have found to provide health and well-being services online.

"The fact that they have had more than 2,000,000 customer engagements through its online services is a tremendous effort, and I am pleased to have the opportunity to put on record my thanks to the entire team."

During the pandemic 538 High Life Highland staff signed up to a volunteering register in response to Highland Council’s call for volunteers to support its resilience work.213 were called upon by the council to volunteer at food banks, key worker child care hubs, delivery van drivers. Online teaching of classes continued with more than 500 people signing up for dance classes, and staff made sure the Highlands were the only region in Scotland to continue music tuition through lockdown.

Libraries and Archives staff delivered online activities such as book-bug sessions, bed-time stories and family history sessions which were well received, and some of the Leisure Facilities team provided online fitness classes.

He continued: "I must also pay tribute to Steve Walsh and his leadership team for the positive way they have approached this challenging time and for the care and attention they have shown to customers and their staff alike. As we have seen with so many Highland businesses and organisations, innovative thinking, and a positive vision really can make such a difference.

The value High Life Highland brings to our communities cannot be underestimated, and it’s vital that we continue to support the organisation now and as they develop services and facilities into the future."

The early day motion reads: "This House commends High Life Highland (HLH) management and staff for their outstanding efforts to support Highland communities throughout the health pandemic, notes that hundreds of staff volunteered in communities across the Highlands with many supporting vital community and key worker hubs, also acknowledges that their online services have already reached over two million customer engagements contributing to the well-being of some of our most vulnerable citizens; and further notes that these services include Macmillan, Move More, music tuition, youth and adult learning services, access to archives, libraries, and leisure services; also pays tribute High Life Highland’s proactive and safety-focused bounce back campaign which has led to the safe reopening of leisure centres, libraries, museums, arts, archive centres and many other services across Highland communities and congratulates the team on the safe commencement of swimming lessons for over 3,000 children, and thanks to the team for the ongoing substantial contribution they are making to the health and well-being of Highland residents and the continued recovery of our communities now and post covid.

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