Firstly, we hope you are all safe and well.

It’s been a while since our last blog post, but as you can imagine, like other businesses we’ve had to put our effort into adapting our lives and our services to the new situation.

We have been working on offering some of our services online and I hope you have been enjoying our children’s activities, such as Bounce & Rhyme and our various languages Storytime on Facebook. We would like to thank all our teachers for bravely abandoning their inhibitions to sing and read for everyone online. It has been interesting for us too, to see our teachers in their own homes.

We are of course very lucky as we can still run some of our services online. And although some of our teachers decided to return to their home countries to be with their families at the beginning of the pandemic, we felt privileged that they were willing and able to continue working with us despite the geographical distance. Having team meetings with people in different countries has made us realize that, regardless of the restrictions we have been facing, there are also many new possibilities for us going forward.

This is also a good opportunity for us to thank all our customers who have made donations to the library, booked Zoom classes with us, and sent us messages of support and encouragement. We can honestly say that we have been overwhelmed by your kindness, and it has inspired us to explore new options to move forward despite a sometimes gloomy-looking future.

So, what have we come up with?

As mentioned above, many of our children’s sessions are now on Facebook for anyone to enjoy on a donation basis. For those of you who prefer teacher-led group session in which your child is able to interact with the teacher and their peers, we now offer a variety of children’s language classes on Zoom. Please check out our brand new website for classes and if you can’t find what you are looking for, contact Michèle.

Did we just say ‘brand new website’?

Yes, indeed. Our Web Designer, Iain Graydon has been working tirelessly to not only improve our course calendar and create a vibrant and colourful website, but he has added the ability for you to now book your classes, events and services online. Thank you Iain!

This is particularly useful if you are booking one of our conversation classes for adults, which currently run in Arabic, English, German, French, Italian, Japanese, Mandarin, Polish, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish at a number of learner levels. We have decided to cut the maximum number of participants to five, to ensure that every speaker is visible on the screen and everyone gets enough speaking time. So please, book your space well in advance and at least 24 hours before the class starts to inform your teacher that you will be participating in the class. If you find that the class is fully booked or the booking has closed, but still would like to join, get in touch with Andrea and we will see what we can do.

What is happening with the Café Hub and the Library Hub?

In the near future, it doesn’t look like we will be able to run the café or the library the way we used to before the pandemic, but of course, this doesn’t mean, we can’t run it at all. On our website, you will find our Click & Collect menu which gives you the ability to enjoy your Café Hub favorites by ordering them online. Simply place your order by Wednesday at 6pm and we will have then ready for you to collect Saturday between 12pm and 2pm. You can choose from our selection of delicious cakes and bagels, to and soups and even coffee. So, why not get your Saturday tea time from the hub?

Our wonderful suppliers, Granny Beaton and Casa Dolce Bakes are still supplying us with their lovely cakes, and Michèle has turned into a domestic goddess creating vegan and gluten-free cakes and desserts. If planning ahead is not your thing, you can come and get a takeaway coffee, cake or sandwiches directly from our door from Thursday to Saturday, 11am to 2pm. To minimise transmission, we are not opening the premises to the public and we ask takeaway customers to pay contactless.

As our valued Library Hub members will know from the March email, your library memberships will be extended for the time the Library Hub is fully closed. We are currently working on a digital library catalogue, which will allow you to browse and reserve items from the Library Hub stock and pick them up through the door. If you have items you would like to return right now, you can do this during our takeaway times from Thursday to Saturday, 11am to 2pm.

When will the Hub be back to normal?

In short—we don’t know yet. But we are of course following the the Scottish Government’s guidelines and adapting the way we work to ongoing developments during this crisis. Our main concern is the safety of our staff and customers and their families. We want to do everything possible to keep the Hub going, and we are confident we can get through this while keeping people safe.

Once again, thank you for keeping us in your hearts and minds, and for supporting us the way you have. Let’s look forward to a future when we can all sit together again for a blether.

Andrea, Michèle and the Hub Team.