Third sector heroes battle the beast from the east

Foodtrain vounteers in renfrewshire main

Snowfall across Scotland has not stopped staff and volunteers from protecting the vulnerable

1st March 2018 by Gareth Jones 0 Comments

Volunteers and third sector staff have battled the elements to ensure Scotland’s vulnerable communities stay safe.

A deluge of snowfall – dubbed the beast from the east – has left many people across Scotland housebound, with shops closed and local services grinding to a halt.

However third sector heroes have been going above and beyond the call of duty to ensure those at risk are supported until the weather subsides.

Fears have been raised for those sleeping on the streets, with Simon Community Scotland workers continuing to provide support to those sleeping rough in Glasgow and Edinburgh.

Homeless shelters remained open on Wednesday night, and Social Bite gave out winter survival packs at its shops and cafes.

“Conditions are horrendous outside,” said a Social Bite spokesperson. “If you pass someone who is pitched up on the street or might be a rough sleeper please let them know they can come to our cafes for a hot drink or soup for a bit of warmth.”

Earlier this week, Help the Homeless Glasgow spread 150 warm items of clothing across the city for homeless people to wear in anticipation of snowstorms.

Organiser Helen McMillan said: “The campaign is basically to raise public awareness of homeless issues throughout our cities, by tying scarves, and other warm items, onto poles and benches with a tag on which lets people know the item is not lost but can be taken by anyone who needs it.”

Foodbanks have been attempting to stay open despite the weather, however they anticipate needing more donations in the coming weeks to make up for people not being able to reach them.

Foodtrain Scotland volunteers faced difficult driving conditions as they went out on their usual deliveries to ensure that older people did not go hungry and had warm meals during the cold snap.

Conditions were especially bad in areas such as Renfrewshire and West Lothian, but this did not stop deliveries from taking place.

Age Scotland said that many of its regular events had been cancelled, but has been working to encourage people to check on elderly neighbours and family.

Social care workers have also been battling the conditions to ensure that they can support people, and many staff have been working extended hours or even sleeping at their desks to ensure adequate cover is in place.

Enable chief executive Theresa Shearer praised the work of her staff on twitter on Tuesday night.

She said: “To those team facilitators on blow up beds tonight in regional offices to ensure continuity of care: thank you. And thank you to Jason who walked over two hours in a blizzard just to get to the person he supports.”

Cornerstone’s Edel Harris also praised her staff, saying that social care workers had faced horrendous weather conditions across the country.

And nurses at Strathcarron Hospice opted to sleepover to ensure that patients remained cared for, with weather conditions closing roads around central Scotland.