Charities in Ayrshire are under increasing pressure. The lockdown enforced by the UK Government at the start of this week has had a major impact on how the third sector operates. For some, the pressure has massively increased to provide aid to those who need it most. For others its forced a total shutdown of their operations.
Linda Jane McCurrach founded No-one Dies Alone Ayrshire. A local charity that was set up to provide companionship during end-of-life care. She’s had to shut down almost all the work the charity does to protect her service users and her volunteers.
There’s potentially more people dying in alone, which just feels absolutely awful.Linda, on having to stop the service
Another charity is facing the complete reverse. South Ayrshire Life only started on Monday and is already processing new volunteers to start next week as they cope with increasing demands on their operations. New phone lines could soon be up and running and will allow the team to expand from 6 to at least 10 people. They’re helping by buying shopping, picking up prescriptions and telephone befriending for those most vulnerable during the lockdown.
South Ayrshire Life has extended it’s services in response to the COVID-19 crisis. pic.twitter.com/iTNRqhbruc— South Ayrshire Council (@southayrshire) March 23, 2020
South Ayrshire Life has been set up by Voluntary Action South Ayrshire (VASA) and has already been inundated with requests. Some though are less serious and CEO Marie Oliver said she planned to put a few of the more entertaining ones on a wall to help lift her staff’s mood during the difficult days.
The first call yesterday morning was some lady wanting the gentleman that picked up the phone to go get her some knickers and the paper!Marie, on the ‘barmy’ calls
For Pauline Moriarty, the measures implemented to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus mean she’s had to adapt the counseling services offered with her charity, Beautiful Inside and Out. The charity helps those dealing with the suicide of a loved one and they’ve had to cancel fundraisers that are vital to maintaining the charity’s services. She’s taking as much as she can online but said that her team and service users know it’s not the same as face-to-face contact.
I’m quite worried, well, very worried for people actually, just worried about how it’s changing society and the economy and as a result people’s mental healthPauline, on the impact of the outbreak and lockdown
The situation is serious for the Third Sector, both the financial and emotional stresses have been felt as more people are in need than ever before. The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations has set up a Coronavirus specific website and email to help charities as well a community directory to enable them to pool resources. The Scottish Government announced £20m in funding earlier this month too that may ease some of the worries for charity bosses.
There is drive from the local community to help and be involved too as shown by Nursing Students from Ayrshire College. Through a variety of fundraising efforts they provided £265 of food to food banks in East Ayrshire, as well as 46 Easter Eggs that will surely have put a smile on children’s faces. Their lecturer Dawn McArthur shared their story on twitter and said she wanted to post something positive to combat the ‘overwhelming’ negative news.
It’s not just human-focused charities that are being affected by the lockdown, Islay Dog-Rescue based at Glen Islay Farm near Cumnock are anticipating increasingly difficult conditions. Lorraine Jardine runs the charity that takes in ‘death-row dogs’ and she believes there could be an ‘onslaught of dogs’ being given up as owners face difficult economic decisions or job changes that make looking after one impossible.
I feel like we’re kinda in the calm before the storm period right at the minuteLorraine, on the challenges in the near future.
In the meantime, Lorraine has been continuing to be as active as possible online to maintain awareness. She’s launched an Online Dog Show, where owners pay to submit a photo of their dog in a variety of categories and could win a prize.
All the charities listed in the article are accessible through their hyperlinks and would welcome any support you can give.
NHS Guidelines on COVID 19 are available here.