DUNFERMLINE MSP Shirley-Anne Somerville's office has been inundated with requests for help since the outbreak of coronavirus brought the country to a standstill.

The politician said the number of emails received had been "unprecedented" from constituents with concerns about everything from work to education.

Staff are working around the clock to deal with enquiries.

Despite the heavy workload, the MSP urged West Fifers to get in touch for help with information currently changing rapidly.

"It's absolutely heartbreaking to hear the difficulties that folk are getting into so quickly," Ms Somerville told the Press.

"What has also struck me is how fast things are moving so that is why we're asking people to get in touch with us.

"If we do not know the answer we will find it out – all the MSPs are working together to share information.

"I've never experienced before anything like the number of calls and emails we're receiving.

"It just shows how this crisis is affecting everyone and the issues are just endless."

Ms Somerville, who is Cabinet Secretary for Social Security and Older People, added: "We do not know how long this will go on for but it's important that we listen to the experts by reducing and limiting our social contact.

"We will do this for as long as it takes but we know that means that it's hitting people hard.

"For some people, things have changed overnight financially and if this goes on we will see the number of people hit increase.

"If people are getting into financial difficulty, speak to your bank, mortgage lender, energy supplier, ask Fife Council for a rebate.

"People need to speak as soon as they get into difficulties.

"Unfortunately, I think we are going to see more people needing to go to the foodbank.

"This is why I urge people not to stockpile too.

"I accept that people want to protect their families but you need to think about the people who cannot afford to do that.

"Please think about your community."

In the midst of the pandemic though, the politician said she had been taken aback by the community spirit in West Fife.

She added: "These circumstances can bring out the worst but also the best in people.

"I have been blown away by the examples of community spirit in West Fife as people support each other.

"In my village, there are so many heartwarming stories.

"Out of the worst of times there is unbelievable community spirit and I really hope we don't lose that when we get back to normal."

Neale Hanvey, MP for Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath, who has also been inundated by enquiries, paid tribute to Fife Voluntary Action who are helping to connect people with support.