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Community Land Scotland

Built-in Resilience: Community Landowners’ Responses to the Covid19 Crisis

At time of crisis our natural instinct is to come together. One particular cruelty of coronavirus was that obeying that instinct was the last thing we should do.

Unlike wartime, we had had to stay apart in order to limit the spread of infection. Family conversations were conducted across fences or through windows. Young children
felt abandoned by grandparents who were no longer there to give them a hug. Elderly neighbours and those with health conditions, disappeared from sight. Visitors to rural areas defying government direction, were not welcome. Life in communities across the land was changed utterly, but the challenge was the same for all – how to help protect each other when we couldn’t get close.

The gauntlet had to be picked up at a local level. The Scottish Government was at pains to deliver the public health message, the do’s and don’ts of fighting infection. There was a clarity to the lockdown instruction, but it could never provide answers to so many questions of how exactly we were supposed to survive while staying at home.

Community bodies across the land came up with plans that would literally save lives, giving the lie to the common assumption that the word ‘community’ indicates something amateur or lacking fleetness of foot. These bodies’ roots went deep into local life. None more so than those which already owned local land, buildings or other assets. This report is an attempt to highlight and celebrate the importance of these efforts.