It is true that coronavirus does not discriminate; however, there are a few groups of people who are significantly more affected by the virus, leading to them having an increased risk of complications. Vulnerable groups have been told to shield to lower their risk of contracting the virus. This may mean that they are unable to leave their home to shop for essentials or are simply living alone and have no interaction with anyone. However, there has been a number of excellent initiatives put in place in different communities to provide a helping hand to the most vulnerable during these unprecedented times.
The Scottish Government Helpline
The Scottish government has set up a helpline to provide assistance to those who do not have a support network and are at an increased risk of complications if they contract Covid-19. This initiative aids those to access services which help to provide them with essential food and medication and emotional support. Those in need of help when it comes to getting food can order free weekly food boxes which supply them with all the essentials they need for a week. These boxes get delivered and placed outside the front door in order to adhere to social distancing guidelines and this also means that those who are the most vulnerable do not need to leave their house to go to the shops. Additionally, priority delivery slots from six Scottish supermarket chains have been made available to make it easier to receive deliveries.
Lanarkshire LEAP Project
Launched in an effort to aid the elderly and those with underlying health issues, Cambuslang-based LEAP has made a free delivery service available to those in need across South Lanarkshire. Those who are eligible for the service can contact LEAP to get food, medication and power card and mobile phone top-ups, all delivered directly to their house completely free of charge. Furthermore, LEAP runs a befriending service which will now be entirely phone-based due to the coronavirus pandemic. Those who wish to take part have their contact details passed on to a volunteer befriender who then can contact them whenever they wish for a chat. Thus giving those who are alone a chance to speak to someone on the phone who can help and will listen to them to help combat loneliness.
Coronavirus has caused a great deal of anxiety among the elderly and Age Scotland is here to help during the current global pandemic. The charity which focuses on supporting older people, has now seen a huge surge in calls and inquiries due to worries about coronavirus. To help cope with the large increase in calls, it is now operating a virtual call centre to provide older people across Scotland with all of the help and support they need. The Charity helps to provide advice and information to the elderly and their families on how to live during the pandemic.
How you can help
These excellent charities and initiatives discussed are only a few of the many out there doing great work to help support those in need. However, you too can help get involved by helping elderly neighbours; offering to shop for their essentials if they cannot, donating to charities and finally there are a number of organisations looking for volunteers too. Small acts of kindness go a long way and are especially valued more than ever during these tough times.
The Scottish Government website
Helpline – 0800 111 4000 – Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm.
By Erin McGee, Deputy Editor.