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Welcome to my June 2020 newsletter
Dear Friends,

Fighting coronavirus is tough. You might be shielding and feel isolated from your family. You might be a young person missing out on school and seeing your friends. You might be a grandparent living on your own. You might even have lost a loved one. 
 
No matter what your personal circumstances are, fighting this virus has been tough on all of us. I want to thank you for sticking to the Government’s guidance - please remember, your actions are helping to save lives.

Entering phase 2

Last week, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon confirmed a move to phase 2 of the Scottish Government's Route Map with a phased approach.

You can now meet with a maximum of two other households per day outdoors and with physical distancing.

If you are an adult who lives alone, or if all the others in your household are under 18, you and the members of one other household can now agree to form an 'extended household'. Everyone in the extended household will be able to act, and will be treated, as if they live in one household - meaning they can spend time together inside each other’s homes and not need to stay at least two metres apart.

For people who are shielding, the First Minister confirmed that you can now go outside for a walk, wheel or cycle provided you follow strict physical distancing. You can also meet up outdoors with one other household - again with physical distancing and in a group of no more than eight people.

I know that lockdown has been particularly tough for those of you who are shielding. The government's advice is to continue shielding until 31 July and they are working on further guidance, so you can consider your personal risk from Covid-19 depending on your individual conditions.


The overarching message for phase 2 is Stay Safe, Protect Others, Save Lives. Please take a moment to read the government's rules on staying safe and protecting others.
Looking ahead to phase 3

On Wednesday (24 June), the First Minister advised that Scotland is expected to enter phase 3 of the Route Map with a phased approach from 9 July.

Before then it is expected that the five mile limit on travel for leisure and recreation will be lifted on 3 July and outdoor hospitality, such as beer gardens, can open from 6 July.

Non-essential shops within indoor shopping centres can reopen from 13 July - good news for businesses in the Kingdom Shopping Centre in Glenrothes.

From 15 July, early learning and childcare services can resume and the tourism sector and holiday accommodation can reopen, too.

For full details, read Scotland's route map - indicative dates for the remainder of Phase 2 and early Phase 3.

By following the government's advice, you are supporting NHS Fife, our health and care workers, our emergency services, pharmacy staff, and all key workers in the fight against coronavirus.

Stay Safe, Protect Others, Save Lives. 

Take care,






Jenny Gilruth MSP
I am holding telephone advice surgeries every Monday and Friday from 11.00 am. Please email me at Jenny.Gilruth.msp@parliament.scot or call my constituency office on 01592 764815 to make an appointment.

My constituency team and I are working remotely with secure access to emails and our casework system during the coronavirus pandemic.
Working together during COVID-19
Network Rail confirm Leven rail link on track for completion by 2023
My colleague, David Torrance MSP, and I met with Network Rail officials at the start of this month for an update on the reopening of the Levenmouth rail link. I was pleased to learn that the rail link remains on track for completion in 2023 - despite Covid-19 - with construction due to begin in late 2021. Plans are being made for community engagement later this year.
Have your say on recovery plans for our town centres
I’m encouraging all owners, managers and employees in businesses normally open to the public in Glenrothes and Leven to fill in Fife Tourism Partnership’s short Town Centre Business Re-opening and Recovery Survey.
Please take the time to make your views known to Fife Council as they work on their recovery plans to help address the effects of Covid-19 for towns and shopping centres across Fife.
Scottish Government funds free school meals for Fife pupils over the summer
I welcomed the Scottish Government’s announcement of £27.6 million to help feed pupils and other key groups over the summer. Fife Council will receive funding to continue providing free school meals during the summer holidays and other food provision to help low income families during the Covid-19 pandemic. Around 175,000 children and young people are set to benefit.
Making caring visible during Carers Week 2020
I was delighted to join carers from across Fife in an online meeting arranged by Fife Young Carers to mark Carers Week 2020. To support carers during the Covid-19 pandemic, the Scottish Government announced a £300,000 package to help young carers, and 83,000 eligible carers across Scotland will receive a one-off £230.10 Coronavirus Carer's Allowance Supplement this month.
Fife bid for Scottish Government's active travel scheme
I was delighted to hear that Fife Council put in a £2.57 million bid for Scottish Government funding to create new cycle routes across the Kingdom. I called on them to apply last month when the government announced a £10 million package to help councils reallocate road space to make it safer for those who choose to walk, cycle or wheel during the Covid-19 pandemic. Credit to the Council officers involved and I wish the bid well.
Support for Scotland's students during Covid-19 pandemic
I welcomed the news that students facing financial hardship over the summer months will receive extra help from the Scottish Government. Students will have early access to £11.4 million of discretionary funds, which will be administered by colleges and universities, until the start of the next academic year when grant, bursary and loan payments will begin again.

 
Scotland's Deputy First Minister and Education Secretary, John Swinney, confirmed this week that schools in Fife and across Scotland will prepare to return full time from 11 August. 

The announcement was made following the progress that has been made in suppressing Covid-19 coronavirus. Fife Council has been asked to prepare for children to return to schools full time from 11 August - so long as progress to suppress the virus continues.

Fife Council has also been asked to ensure contingency plans are in place, which would involve a "blended learning" model involving classroom and online learning, should there be a resurgence of the virus in the future. I will be following Fife Council's progress carefully.

Following Fife Council’s letter to parents and carers about the return to schools in August, I wrote to Fife Council’s Director of Education, Carrie Lindsay, to request a meeting for all Fife MSPs to discuss the Council’s proposals. This meeting will take place today, Friday 26 June. I'll use this opportunity to ask questions on issues raised by my constituents.

The Education Secretary also announced a £100 million fund to help children catch up on missed education this week. Part of this fund will go towards teacher recruitment with a guaranteed post for every probationer in the coming year.

As a former teacher, I know this has been an anxious time for all pupils, parents and carers, but particularly for those who were due to sit exams. I would like to extend my thanks to all of you - as well as our teachers - for your tremendous efforts since schools closed in March.

If you have any questions or concerns that you would like me to raise with Fife Council, please get in touch: Jenny.Gilruth.msp@parliament.scot.
CONSTITUENCY OFFICE FOODBANK DONATIONS
(12 COMMERCIAL STREET, MARKINCH)
At the beginning of this month, food banks reported that they have recorded the largest ever increase in emergency food parcels going to children during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Deliveries were up by 47% in April compared to the same period in 2019.

Glenrothes and Levenmouth foodbanks desperately need donations at this time, so my constituency office at 12 Commercial Street in Markinch remains open as a donation point. 


The door is open Monday - Friday from 10 am - 5 pm for you to make a contactless donation.

Thank you to everyone who has donated so far for your generosity. Your donations have made a real difference.
Working for you during Covid-19
Since the start of lockdown, my office has received an unprecedented level of requests for help and advice.

In the first month of lockdown, new cases increased by 575% compared to the same period last year.

My small constituency team and I have been working for you around the clock to provide support, information and advice on a wide range of issues.

If you need to get in touch with me, please email me at any time to Jenny.Gilruth.msp@parliament.scot or call my office on 01592 764815. 

Please be patient if you are waiting for a reply as I continue to receive and respond to a high volume of requests for help and advice.
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Jenny Gilruth MSP · 12 Commercial Street · Markinch, Fife KY7 6DE · United Kingdom

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