Local Charity Workers Update Club Members – 26 May 2020

Guest speakers Major Linda Watson of the Salvation Army (Ayr) and Kayleigh Hamilton, coordinator of South Ayrshire Carers Centre both took time out from frontline work to join our Zoom meeting and update us on how our contributions are making a difference to their work in Ayr. We also welcomed to our virtual meeting five members of Alloway Rotary Club.

Linda outlined the current situation at the local Salvation Army food bank: they have staffing difficulties due to self-isolation and are currently down to three volunteers although still managing to support 120 families and 40 homeless people week by week. They have one or two additional volunteers who help out with distribution and are extremely grateful for the regular financial and food-items contributions from the club. Linda is concerned that needs will increase as the government furloughing scheme is wound down and more folk are added to the ranks of the unemployed. Ongoing donations and additional volunteer help would be much appreciated.

Kayleigh then explained how South Ayrshire Young Carers have had to radically change the ways in which they provide support to unpaid carers during this time of social isolation, working digitally rather than face-to-face. Our financial contributions have helped in a number of ways during National Carers Week but Kayleigh anticipates an increased need for support to carers generally and young carers in particular due to the wider and growing physical, mental and social impacts of the virus epidemic. She stressed the need to think creatively in order to identify additional funding sources.

Both speakers highlighted the challenges of obtaining sufficient and appropriate PPE and the problems of obtaining testing. The young Carers were now included in the Scottish Government scheme but the the Salvation Army workers were apparently not considered a priority.

Honorary club member, John Ewing, thanked our speakers for their inspirational leadership and for taking time out from the frontline to let us know how our funds are making a difference.

Donations to both charities will be very welcome and members have already been advised of the appropriate mechanism for donating via the cub’s benevolent fund.