Scottish Families Affected by Alcohol and Drugs has worked to support people's wellbeing and connect communities during the pandemic.
Given the current coronavirus situation that is impacting all our lives, Scottish Families reacted quickly to make sure our support services were still available to family members in Scotland. Our helpline, bereavement support, and one-to-one support are all available online or by phone. We continue to support people every day. Our local support groups are now also online and we have weekly group meetings via Zoom.
We can call, email, and host video chats with any family members who need us. There is no doubt that family members affected by alcohol and drugs are facing a variety of challenges at this current time. We want to make sure they know our team is here to help in any way we can.
Our response to COVID-19
When we were first asked to stay at home, our team adapted to a new routine. We all came forward with loads of ideas to help people receive support and connect. We received extra funding from the Scottish Government to support families. This fund is currently paying for digital support where we have given family members access to a mobile device or a tablet and data so they can keep in touch with their loved ones and receive support from ourselves. The funding has also gone towards an emergency fund, more counselling, family meals for our young person’s group Routes, and an initial programme of online and virtual wellbeing activities. We even had our first ever virtual choir #VoicesTogether!
Our most popular support has been our wellbeing packs. We created bags full of self-care items such as bath products, wellbeing journals, novels, board games and jigsaws, sweet treats, and many other things for people to relax and to keep their minds active while staying at home. These packs have been home delivered to the young people in our Routes support group and the people who attend our support groups in Aberdeenshire, East Dunbartonshire, and Forth Valley. It’s fair to say our wellbeing packs have been a hit with so many family members messaging their thanks, and even receiving donations from our neighbours to make more packs.
Connecting with Communities
Over these past few weeks, we have launched a new podcast series called #AlcoholShorts. These short podcasts explore the issues of alcohol use and offer some support to family members and individuals who are experiencing additional pressures because of stay-at-home advice. The idea came around because many family members were contacting us saying their loved ones were drinking more, or they were noticing new drinking habits. We wanted to be able to answer and support their questions which is why we created the series.
In the next few weeks, we are launching our new wellbeing programme of work called Connect, Communicate, Thrive. The programme will have a whole load of new online and physically distanced activities to take part in. Make sure to check-in with our social media channels for more information.
Although it has been difficult adapting to a different routine and feeling like we’ve been at home for years now, the lockdown has allowed us to support and help more family members in Scotland. We’ve been able to get people onto their first-ever Zoom meeting. We’ve encouraged people to sing their hearts out in a virtual choir. We’ve even hosted make-up and skincare sessions, cooking lessons, and a TikTok dance class!
At Scottish Families, we work towards helping family members be supported, included, recognised, connected to communities, and a movement for change. And although it has been tough with some hiccups on the way, we’ve managed to continue providing our vital support services and being able to make others smile and laugh along the way.
Connect to the SFAD helpline on: 08080 10 10 11
Find our webchate service at www.sfad.org.uk (this link will take you away from our website