Derek’s story – challenges in getting crucial support during COVID-19
"The whole experience was challenging mentally and physically"
“Due to my visual impairment and being a chronic asthmatic, at the time of writing this personal account I have just completed my eightieth day of self-isolation. However, for the first seven weeks of this lockdown, I was completely unable to identify a wholly accessible support service to help me sustain my daily living routine following the loss of my two Personal Assistants due to their own personal concerns of contracting Covid19 through their daily working schedule.
The support I initially found via an online search of my local authority website led me to a community centre who were providing people in my circumstances with essential provisions but this generous community resource created additional difficulties as I couldn’t identify many of the food products provided never mind cook them due to my visual impairment.
When I accessed the Scottish Government 0800 service on the 1st of April I was told that I did not qualify for support and that I should contact other organisations within my area who may be able to aid me in getting shopping in but this too proved fruitless for a variety of reasons i.e. much of the literature I received from these community sources was in a graphic format that my assistive technology couldn’t read, I was ineligible for support from many groups as I didn’t meet their criteria say for geographical reasons and those groups within the community who were identified by the local authority never responded to my emails requesting help with shopping irrespective of how often I contacted them.
Finally, having contacted my MSP and MP for the third time seeking their intervention, I was eventually called by the council emergency social work department who put me in touch with a community group who could take my personalised shopping list and drop my shopping off at my door. The group themselves dismissed eligibility criteria in order to assist me to meet my basic shopping needs.
The whole experience was challenging mentally and physically, but made me ask the question on how my peers were faring at these difficult times.”
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