People, businesses and charities in Scotland have joined forces to create a swell of kindness in the run-up to St Andrew’s Day today Monday 30 November.

Th One Million Words of Kindness project is an effort to raise spirits in what has been one of the most challenging years the country has faced in decades.

The Scottish Government’s St Andrew’s Day 2020 campaign launched last week with the reveal of a bespoke postcard designed by Scottish illustrator Emily Hogarth and a short film that displayed the moments of kindness that have brought people together across the country this year. 

Scotrail, Loganair and Caledonian MacBrayne Ferries were among the transport networks that captured images of the postcard in some of Scotland’s most stunning locations from Barra beach in the Outer Hebrides to Glasgow’s historic Queen St station and the ferry terminals at Oban Bay, Ardrossan and Mallaig Harbour. 

The country’s most iconic tourist attractions also shared messages of kindness on their social media pages with postcards popping up at Edinburgh Castle in the capital, Caerlaverock Castle in Dumfries & Galloway, Blackness Castle in Linlithgow and St Andrew’s Cathedral in the historic namesake town of the national day, thanks to the support Association of Scottish Visitor Attractions. 

St Andrew’s Fair Saturday

In total, more than fifty virtual events have taken place in cities and towns around the country as part of the St Andrew’s Fair Saturday festival and BEMIS Scotland celebrations in the lead up to St Andrew’s Day, with more to come today. Supported by the Scottish Government, the events aim to bring together diverse communities to celebrate the resilience, community spirit and shared kindness that has helped us all get through these difficult times.

There was an array of online and social media messages from people around the world, checking in with friends, family and neighbours and passing on messages of appreciation for the moments that have helped through the past year – from helping with shopping to having a chat on the street – making this year a kinder one when kindness was needed most. 

Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop said: “I’m pleased so many people have been inspired by the One Million Words of Kindness campaign launched this year to help celebrate St Andrew’s Day. The level of support it has received demonstrates that kindness is who we are as a nation and continuing to show this compassion for each other will help to lift our spirits at a time when it is really needed.

“On top of the many words of kindness shared in the mail and on social media platforms, the online programme of arts and culture performances brought to life by our partners for people around the country has been fantastic and I encourage everyone to take some time to enjoy them.”

Local community groups across Scotland, supported by BEMIS Scotland, will mark today’s national day through multicultural music and dance performances, the distribution of food, art and crafts materials and family-friendly kindness pamper packs, along with messages of kindness from community groups to medical professionals and care staff. 

St Andrew’s Fair Saturday Festival began on Fair Saturday, 28 November with celebrations ending today on St Andrew’s Day. The festival is a celebration of the arts and aims to spread support for social and cultural causes through the promotion of cultural events and performances. 

Highlights today include: 

·        Frontline Festival Scotland – Wet Wet Wet, Bay City Rollers and Hue and Cry are among top Scottish acts performing online for the virtual gig that is raising funds for Scotland’s Charity Air Ambulance and the Scottish Fire & Rescue Family Support Trust among other charities. 

·        A live-streamed “Big Cèilidh” from the Festival of Small Halls takes place this evening from Skye’s iconic Sligachan Hotel. Traditional musicians Hamish Napier, Su-a Lee, Inge Thomson, Lauren MacColl, Rachel Newton, Megan Henderson, Ewan Robertson, Angus MacKenzie and Seàn Gray will lead an evening of world-class music. The event is supported by Creative Scotland. 

·        A pre-recorded performance of Clan Dannsa members around the country will be available today. Clan Dannsa is an elite level group established in 2016 to bring together the best Highland dancers across central Scotland, from Edinburgh to Glasgow, to perform in national and international events. 

·        Macbeth the Red: Walking Theatre Company and The Rockfield Centre will bring Shakespeare’s quintessentially Scottish play, Macbeth, direct to living rooms with an interactive, live, online theatre experience. 

·        Gaelic singers Ceitlin Lilidh, Eilidh Cormack and Ellen MacDonald are joined by Innes White make-up Sian who released their first album at the start of the year. Having had celebrations marking 10 years of the band curtailed, they will welcome Trail West in their special anniversary year in a live stream from Eden Court in Inverness.

For further information on St Andrew’s Fair Saturday events and how to access, visit: https://standrews.fairsaturday.org/

For further information on BEMIS schedule, visit: https://bemis.org.uk/swf/

For further information on the St Andrew’s Day One Million Words of Kindness, visit: www.onescotland.org/st-andrews-day