By providing comprehensive support the organisation has been able to assist people during the most trying periods of the pandemic.
Around the middle of March, it became clear to everyone at Unity, our head office in Glasgow, and to the staff at the South Ayrshire Carers Centre, that we would have to start making arrangements to work from home due to lockdown.
Everyone has been issued with a laptop and mobile phone thanks to Kayleigh Hamilton, our Centre Coordinator, and after several weeks of experiencing this novelty, we have now become used to this way of working, communicating through Microsoft Teams and holding Zoom workshops. This was particularly useful during Carers Week from 8th to 14th June when we organized several Zoom sessions, the first of which was hosted by Home Energy Scotland. This was followed with ‘Chair Yoga’ and ‘Mindfulness’ when Carers received a link through our South Ayrshire Carers Centre Facebook Page, or via email. We were grateful to all the volunteers who offered up their skills and hosted each of these sessions, as the Zoom sessions could not have gone ahead without their support.
We continue to offer advice and support to both adult and young Carers through telephone calls asking them how they have been coping, what, if any issues they may be experiencing, such as getting access to PPE, shopping for food, obtaining medication, or a mix of all three of these.
We have been working with other agencies, signposting to such places as South Ayrshire Lifeline (0800 432 0510) who have been helping in all the above areas, the Government COVID-19 helpline number (01292 616101), or the Vulnerable Groups Helpline (0800 111 4000). We are keeping in regular contact with local schools and social work to make sure our most vulnerable Carers are getting access to as much information and support as possible.
For Carers who feel isolated due to shielding it is important to keep in regular touch offering emotional support, as someone to talk to can help to alleviate the anxieties they may be experiencing due to lockdown. Using Zoom, we have been able to run our young Carers support groups and hosted a ‘natter session’ for our adult Carers, this allows our Carers to stay connected during this time, and enjoy a cup of tea together, albeit brewed by themselves at home. We also assist with benefits, undertaking form filling, via email, online and mobile telephone calls.
Thanks to donations, we are also able to provide an art project to young Carers and provide food vouchers for Carers who may be struggling. We have received funding from the Scottish Government Wellbeing Fund, to help support Carers who have been finically impacted by the Coronavirus outbreak. Carers can apply for a £300 grant to help with, gas/electricity, food shopping or for equipment.
You can contact us at the South Ayrshire Carers Centre by telephone on 01292 263000 and you will be diverted to one of our colleagues whilst we continue to provide our outreach service, or visit our South Ayrshire Carers Centre Facebook page (this link will take you away from our website) for regular updates.