Falkirk RVS offer people a lifeline during COVID-19 times

The vital work of volunteers in helping those who find themselves socially isolated will be acknowledged by Falkirk Council members next week.

Thursday, 6th May 2021, 10:35 am

The work of the local Royal Voluntary Service is on the agenda to be discussed at a meeting of Falkirk Council’s executive on Tuesday, May 11.

Members will be looking at funding the council received in 2020/21 to support people impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and the report will detail how that funding has been used and how it will be used in the future.

They will look at the Support for People Service which was set up in March 2020 to make sure people had access to food and other essentials during the pandemic.

RVS continues to provide a lifeline to people who find themselves socially isolated

The service linked people in need to community groups who were able to address these needs and these groups were supported via provision of food/funding to

purchase food and a volunteer expenses fund run by CVS Falkirk.

The Support for People service relied heavily on the local community groups and would not have worked without the volunteers who give up their time to help

others in their communities.

One of those groups is the Royal Voluntary Service (RVS), which had volunteers carrying out vital “safe and well” visits to elderly, social isolated people and would

even shop and collect prescriptions for them during the pandemic.

In the Falkirk area from March 2020 to March 2021 the RVS co-ordinated over 180,000 hours of volunteering, carried out 1226 garden gate chats, undertook 10,051

safe and well checks, carried out 69 home visits and 31 assisted walks and undertook 5575 essential shopping trips or medication collection and delivery journeys.

The RVS is now supporting 139 households regularly in the Falkirk area, with 43 of those clients receiving companionship, 77 getting medication delivered and 29 having their shopping delivered, with another 20 receiving IT support.

In March alone RVS, over 1850 hours of volunteering, carried out 171 Garden Gate Chats and completed 537 Safe and Well Checks, as well as 216 essential shopping trips or medication collection/deliveries. in March.

Volunteers also carried out 28 home visits and five assisted walks in March.

One of the people helped by the RVS was “John”, who was referred to the service last year after he suffered a stroke.

The RVS report stated: “He was recovering at home but was struggling with his confidence to mobilise and was particularly reluctant to venture outdoors. Due to the

COVID 19 restrictions, by not going outside, he was feeling very isolated and lonely with resulting low moods.

"RVS provided an initial volunteer to start walking with him weekly and added a second volunteer after 6 weeks for a second walk but with an emphasis on companionship too.

“Over the following three months, John went from not being able to walk to the nearest lamppost to taking hour-long walks in his local area, meeting a friend

in the park and carrying out his own shopping.

“We referred John onto Strathcarron Hospice’s ‘Compassionate Neighbours’ at the end of our time with him as he was still wanting some companionship support. We also connected him with our activities coordinator and one of his volunteers has arranged to visit him in his new house once he moves.”