Kevin McKidd's Leave a Light On in aid of food banks is much needed amid surge in demand – Angus Robertson

Kevin McKidd, of Trainspotting fame, and the band Speyside Sessions have recorded a new charity single Leave a Light On to raise money for food banks struggling to cope with demand (Picture: Steven Scott Taylor/Johnston Press Licence)Kevin McKidd, of Trainspotting fame, and the band Speyside Sessions have recorded a new charity single Leave a Light On to raise money for food banks struggling to cope with demand (Picture: Steven Scott Taylor/Johnston Press Licence)
Kevin McKidd, of Trainspotting fame, and the band Speyside Sessions have recorded a new charity single Leave a Light On to raise money for food banks struggling to cope with demand (Picture: Steven Scott Taylor/Johnston Press Licence) | JPIMedia
Grey’s Anatomy star Kevin McKidd, Mairead Carlin and other members of the Speyside Sessions band have recorded a song to raise money for the Trussell Trust food bank network, writes Angus Robertson, one of 13 backing vocalists.

Food banks across the country have been trying to cope with record demand because of the coronavirus crisis. With the huge hit to the economy, jobs and income, the UK’s largest food bank network run by the Trussell Trust says it has had its busiest ever time since the lockdown.

During the first week of the lockdown, more than 50,000 food parcels were issued which is more than double the usual volume. Some 122 per cent more parcels went to children, compared to the same period in 2019.

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Whilst food banks are working to continue providing emergency food safely to people who cannot afford to buy the essentials, despite the unparalleled surge in demand, the Trussell Trust is warning that they cannot continue to pick up the pieces.

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In an initiative to raise funds for food banks, the Scots actor Kevin McKidd has reformed the Speyside Sessions band and released a charity single, Leave a Light On.

The beautiful Celtic ballad was released yesterday and follows on from the hit 2012 Speyside Sessions album which went straight to No.1 on the iTunes World Music Charts in six different countries, including the UK and US.

The Grey’s Anatomy actor is male lead vocalist with female Northern Irish singer Mairead Carlin on the new charity single, which was composed by the talented James D Reid. Together with Speyside Sessions stalwart and Small Faces and River City actor Iain Robertson, the original musical team was brought back into action, including yours truly on the backing vocals.

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In total 13 backing singers took part, many of us singing into our iPhones, from under their stairs, in kids’ bedrooms and one having to wait to sing at night to avoid seagulls joining in on the background! Kevin McKidd had to throw together a temporary studio and sang into a very basic microphone taped to an upright floor light. Participants took part from near and far including: United States, Scotland, England, Ireland and France.

Speaking about the charity project Kevin said: “It has been such a great experience to get the old Speyside Sessions Band back together. If ever there was a time that we need music, it’s now.

“I am very proud of the track and it has been a real honour to sing with Mairead and all of the old Speyside bunch again.”

James D Reid, who composed the song, said: “Some songs you have to chisel away at and some just come out as quick as it takes to play them through – this was the latter. But it took a week to get all the musicians to lay down the backing and then another week to get all the vocals in.”

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Leave a Light On has been released on Download iTunes and Google Play and is streamed on most music platforms. A special JustGiving page has been set-up for people to make donations: Speyside Sessions: Leave a Light On.

The more money that is raised, the more funds will go to the Trussell Trust and food banks around the country. With so many people in need, now is the time to support them if you are able. Please donate if you can. Hopefully you enjoy the single.

On behalf of everyone involved in the Speyside Sessions, many thanks.

Edinburgh is rallying around food delivery and takeaway firms

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Huge thanks for the positive feedback since my last column about supporting small businesses in Edinburgh that are providing delivery and takeaway services.

People running restaurants, bakeries, butchers, fishmongers, grocery and other food shops have been in touch to thank customers who are making the effort.

The ‘Secret Takeaways in Edinburgh’ website hosted by Occupyd has now seen listed businesses go beyond the 100 mark, with contact details for a wide range of small businesses right across the Capital and Lothians.

Please take the time to have a look and try out their services. With so many businesses struggling to keep their heads above water during the lockdown, the more of us that can support them the better.

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If you have good experiences ordering from local small providers, please can you tell your friends and relatives? The way we are shopping is changing radically, in large part because of the social distancing rules which are quite rightly there to combat Covid-19, but are a challenge to businesses that have not traditionally delivered to people’s homes.

The good news for all of us as consumers is that we can get the everyday shopping supplies that we need and also delicious prepared food of all types delivered to our front door.

Please take the time, try a new small business and order your next food shop or dinner from them. It will help them get through the lockdown.

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