One year in lockdown: Nicola Sturgeon says 'we must remember those we have lost'

The Scottish Government has announced a £4.1 million fund to develop community projects to help people reflect on the impact of the pandemic, as the First Minister prepares to lead a minute’s silence to commemorate those who have lost their lives to coronavirus.

Greenspace Scotland commissioned artists will engage with community groups, faith groups and those hit hardest by the pandemic to shape ideas that benefit communities and reflect local people’s experiences of the pandemic in the Covid Community Memorial projects.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, who will lead a silence in the Scottish Parliament today, said: “None of us will ever forget this year, which has been like no other. We’ve all made sacrifices, which have helped to save lives in the past 12 months, and many of us have lost loved ones – each one a person who can never be replaced and whose loss is greatly mourned.

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Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon. Picture: AP Photo/Virginia Mayo, Pool, File

“Vaccines now offer us hope that we can soon get back to a more normal way of life, and give us confidence that we can start to set dates for when it may begin to return. But as we move forward, and our daily lives begin to return to normal, we will – we must – remember those we have lost, and continue to offer our thoughts, solidarity and support to the bereaved.

“Today, after a year where we’ve been forced to live our lives apart in ways that for many will have been unimaginably difficult, we will come together to mark the first anniversary of lockdown, to pay our respects to those we have lost, and to reflect on everything we have been through as a nation.

"In the years to come, projects supported by this fund will provide spaces that people will visit, and cherish; where people will be able to gather in person to mark the pandemic and to remember those who have died – and to remember the many ways we supported one another as a nation through an extraordinary period.”

Julie Procter, chief executive of Greenspace Scotland, said: “The heart-breaking and difficult events of the past year have highlighted more than ever how important it is for us all to have access to green space.”

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