During this period of COVID-19 a number of our members, both adult and young people are doing some great things to support others. This month we feature Bill Ramsay, Deputy District Commissioner who works for the NHS, Sam and Ben Turpie from Cardrona Scouts Group in the Borders who have been walking to raise funds for the Food Foundation and Beavers from the 108th Pentland who have been saying “thank you” to key workers in their area.

Bill Ramsay – Deputy District Commissioner, Edinburgh North East

I have been working in the NHS for over 14 years. Since the last week of March 2020, I have been in a new role as Service Manager for Primary Care in East Lothian after previously working mostly in information analysis which provides health intelligence, statistical service and advice that support the NHS in progressing quality improvement in health and care.

My new role involves working with GP practices on a wide variety of issues, as well as managing two services – one based in Musselburgh and the other in Haddington – that have around 30 advanced nurse practitioners, nurse practitioners, mental health occupational therapists and administrators.

As part of the response to COVID-19, we were able to flip those services within two days to set up a COVID Community Access Centre (and yes, the acronym still elicits a childlike snigger). These hubs were set up to maximise the number of COVID-19 symptomatic people who could be cared for within the community, while ensuring hospital capacity is used for those with the most serious symptoms. By treating COVID patients separately, the hubs also reduce the exposure of routine patients at GP surgeries and allow GPs to focus on providing care to patients with other complex health issues.

Primary Care does not just cover GPs, it also covers most Dentistry, Optometry and Pharmacy that takes place outside of hospitals.  While only emergency dental and eye examinations are being undertaken just now (at time of writing), community pharmacists have been working with council staff and volunteers to support people, particularly those on the shielding list to get required medicines. 

Like Scouting, the NHS is made up of several different parts all working together to be greater than the sum of those parts.  However, challenging it may seem at times, it is also very rewarding.

Starting a new job at the start of restrictions due to a pandemic may not be the norm but sometimes you can learn more in exceptional times, so I would not change it for anything.

Thank you, Bill, for all you are doing.

Scouting brothers scaling height of Everest and Nevis on home stairs

Sam Turpie, 14, with 11-year-old brother Ben. Picture: Cheryl Turpie

Brothers Ben and Sam Turpie, Scouts at Cardrona Scout Groups in the Borders were recently featured in the Peeblesshire News as they have launched a fundraising challenge to climb the equivalent height of Ben Nevis and Mount Everest by going up and down stairs!

Ben, 11, said: “I thought it was a good idea to fundraise as we all have to stay at home. It’s something Sam and I can do in our own house.” The boys took inspiration from scouting friend Caroline McCann, who was due to start her own adventure to Everest base camp at the end of March, but is now completing a virtual version with friends online.

Ben and 14-year-old Sam, an Explorer Scout, worked out the height of the mountains (33,437 feet in total) and the height of their stairs and created their own charts to record their progress over 60 days.

Ben worked this out at roughly 10 flights of stairs a day, while Sam has to complete a daily set of 60.

They set themselves the initial target of raising £500 for The Food Foundation, and hope that people will get behind their fundraising efforts and donate. At time of writing they have raised £755 and are three quarters of the way up the mountains. The brothers have received support from all over the world including Scouts from New Zealand!!

The Food Foundation is now providing over 100 meals-on-wheels a day, free of charge, to those who are isolated, housebound or being shielded. The service is run by volunteers and relies on donated ingredients also.

Ben and Sam have made a new scout promise amidst the pandemic, and that’s to help those in need in their community. But they’ve got mountains to climb and they need your help to reach the top.

To donate, please visit: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/nevis-everest.

All funds are sent directly to The Food Foundation through JustGiving.

Well done, Sam and Ben

108th Beavers Say Thank You to Key Workers

The Wednesday and Thursday Beavers (and Leaders, Nicola and Janet) at 108th Pentland organised a brilliant display of thank you messages for key workers in a local shop window, bringing a smile to everyone who passed by.

Well done to the 108th Beavers

If you have any other stories of the amazing things our adult volunteers or young people are doing during this difficult time please let us know via

Mike Treanor
Scouting Support Officer
michael.treanor@sesscouts.org.uk