Heroes of the response

Rachel mcready

In the final part of our feature, we highlight voluntary sector staff and volunteers who have been showing the sector is #NeverMoreNeeded

29th May 2020 by Gareth Jones 1 Comment

Crisis often brings out the best of the voluntary sector.

As businesses worry about profit, and politicians strategize – charity workers and volunteers have continued to do what they do best, help people.

The initial response from the sector to the pandemic cannot be underestimated. Despite funding worries, offices closing and volunteers and staff having to self-isolate, organisations have embraced the challenges presented by the outbreak.

In the final part of this feature, we highlight just a few of the people - nominated by TFN readers - who are making a difference.

Barbara MacFarlane and Rachel McReady

The history of Queen’s Nurses was given some publicity last month, when it was revealed that the field hospital which has been created at the Scottish Events Campus (SEC) was to be named after Sister Louisa Jordan.

Sister Louisa was a First World War nurse who died on active service in Serbia in 1915 while providing much-needed care to an area of dire need as part of the Scottish Women’s Hospitals for Foreign Services.

In 2017, after a break of almost 50 years, charity The Queen’s Nursing Institute Scotland reintroduced the Queen’s Nurse title to Scotland – with those who have demonstrated exceptional compassion recognised.

And community nurses have not only been serving in the frontline of the pandemic, but also carrying out vital work to ensure the community stays healthy and remains supported.

Barbara MacFarlane and Rachel McReady work as parish nurses at The Steeple Church in Dundee, and were nominated by the QNIS.

The two nurses normally operate a drop-in clinic for those struggling with the effects of poverty and often addiction.

The pandemic led to the closure of the church, meaning Barbara and Rachel have had to adapt the way they can continue to provide care for the city’s vulnerable.

“One of the big challenges for us is that the church we normally work in is closed,” said Barbara. “Almost all of our volunteers are over 70, some are over 80, so all of a sudden we were in a situation where we had no volunteers left.

“We have teamed up with another charity, Eagles Wings, who normally run a drop-in just round the corner from us, to continue parish nursing as we can. We’re basically outside on the street helping people where we can.”

As well as helping those who may need health advice, the nurses have been making food supplies for vulnerable people, and continue to liaise closely with the NHS to help vulnerable communities and provide up-to-date advice. 

“We are working very closely with lots of other services,” said Rachel. “There has been an amazing collaboration going on, which has resulted in positive outcomes for many of the people that we support. Things such as getting people into accommodation are making a difference.

“We know a lot of the people who are in difficult situations in the city, and they trust us. We are also very proud of them for the way they are dealing with things.”

 

Michaela Collins

Michaela Collins is the chief executive of Glasgow charity Possibilities for Each and Every Kid (PEEK).

The charity has been using a new van it was donated just before the pandemic, dubbed Peek-a-chew, to deliver food supplies to young people and families across Glasgow.

The charity had been due to run an Easter holiday programme for children in the city, but adapted its services to deliver food to deprived communities across the city.

PEEK chair Jackie Gilmour said: “When restrictions came into place, Michaela set to work immediately to ensure the families we work with would be looked after. She sent her team out to purchase essential items to make up packs to send to every family who needed it. She then realigned funds for our Easter holiday programme to provide cooked meals for those families.

“She has worked tirelessly to continue providing essential supplies and services to some of the most vulnerable families in some of the most deprived areas across Glasgow. I know Michaela has not done this single handedly but has been the driving force behind this.”

 

George Charlton

George Charlton has been working flat out to ensure those living in social housing stay warm during lockdown.

George is the in-house gas engineer for social enterprise Homes For Good.

He has been working round the clock to keep their tenants safe and warm, also dropping off food and putting anxious tenants at ease with his lovely way and the care he takes.

His work has been part of a wider drive by the social enterprise to ensure tenants remain safe during Covid-19. Staff have been keeping in regular contact with residents, helping them make universal credit claims, providing food deliveries and organising online activities.

 

Frank Sullivan

Frank Sullivan has been ran off his feet supporting vulnerable communities as part of Cosgrove Care’s Community Support team.

He has delivered over 50 care packages including food provisions, hot meals for community groups, Easter eggs and various other items just three weeks. 

Cosgrove’s James Lwanda said: “Frank has literally done any task we have asked of him since starting to volunteer with us in mid-March and his commitment is inspiring.  When he’s not volunteering with Cosgrove, he also volunteers for various other charitable organisations each week, he’s been a true inspiration and a fantastic addition to the team.”

30th June 2020 by Bev

Brilliant work Rachel and Barbara. ????