Quarriers Aberdeenshire Carers Summer Newsletter 2020

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Carers’ newsletter August 2020

local resource that would be of interest to carers, please let us know who they are, what they do and how to contact them.

Hello everyone. I can’t quite believe that this is our third newsletter in the space of five months since our office closed but I am delighted to announce that we are now entering a new phase. Since the easing of restrictions, preparations are now underway for staff to return to part time office working and part time home working, albeit on a planned rota system. Our Inverurie office has undergone some structural changes and there has been a rigorous deep clean from our new cleaning company who will be coming in twice weekly once we are in situ again. There are now acrylic screens at reception and between workstations and clearly defined floor markings to ensure a covid secure environment.

I am also pleased to let you know that we now have a lovely large meeting space for when we can meet up with you again, in person. I understand that everyone’s situation is different and unique and that you might require different levels of support at different times, especially now but I was recently told that a carer had said it meant a lot to be “held in mind” following a telephone conversation with a member of staff. This had a particular resonance for me. With this in mind, I would like to invite you to take part in making our new meeting room a space to share carers’ work on the theme of Held in Mind with a view to holding an exhibition next year for the general public to raise awareness of caring. This can be in any creative form that can be wall mounted such as artwork of any medium, photography or creative writing. We can send out a canvas or other supplies that you might need to enable you to take part should you require them so please get in touch with your Family Wellbeing Worker or the service if you are interested in being part of this project.

The local Rotary Club and Tesco have very kindly agreed to fund outdoor seating and privacy screens so that, weather allowing, staff and visitors can catch up in a socially distanced space, outdoors at our office. Staff will also be able to meet with you in outdoors spaces such as parks or gardens and can arrange a walk to ensure privacy should you need to meet in person. We have also set up monthly online groups for both adult and young carers (see page 11). If you would like to join any of the sessions, please let us know and we will send you an invite. If you require support at any time or just a contact call, please let us know as staff continue to offer support via telephone and face-to-face online meetings.

As someone who sees creative value in items all around me, I am really looking forward to what you might create, individually and collectively. Stay safe and stay connected.

Unfortunately, due to restrictions on gatherings, we will not be holding our planned event for Carers Rights Day on 26 November. Instead, with input from carers, staff, local authority and service providers we are going to produce a booklet showcasing both local and national support networks. If you know of a fantastic

Joanna McPherson Service Coordinator 1


Meet the team

Heather Knowles Team Leader (Young Carers) & Family Wellbeing Worker Tel: 07734 979954 heather.knowles@ quarriers.org.uk

Joanna McPherson Service Coordinator

Kirsty Anderson Team Leader (Adult Carers) & Family Wellbeing Worker Tel: 07468 863934 kirsty.anderson@ quarriers.org.uk

Sandra Andrew Senior Administrator Tel: 01467 538700 sandra.andrew@quarriers.org.uk

Julie Applin-Smith Administrator Tel: 01467 538700 julie.applinsmith@ quarriers.org.uk

Ann Brodie Family Wellbeing Worker (Respitality) Tel: 07770 373827 ann.brodie@quarriers.org.uk

Linda Camilli Family Wellbeing Worker (Information and Social Media) Tel: 07812 376415 linda.camilli@quarriers.org.uk

Ann Coutts Family Wellbeing Worker (Central) Tel: 07725 593902 ann.coutts@quarriers.org.uk

Tracey Harrison Family Wellbeing Worker (Volunteering) Tel: 07531 193899 tracey.harrison@quarriers.org.uk

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Meet the team

Jenny Keir Family Wellbeing Worker (Triage) Tel: 01467 538700 jenny.keir@quarriers.org.uk

Siobhan Lawson Family Wellbeing Worker (Central) Tel: 07812 228562 siobhan.lawson@quarriers.org.uk

Iain McIntosh Family Wellbeing Worker (Marginalised Carers) Tel: 07812 376415 iain.mcIntosh@quarriers.org.uk

Alison McKessick Family Wellbeing Worker (North) Tel: 07812 228558 alison.mckessick@quarriers.org.uk

Debbie Neill Family Wellbeing Worker (South) Tel: 07837 834889 debbie.neill@quarriers.org.uk

Peter Rainbird IT Support and Innovation Worker Tel: 07587 034531 peter.rainbird@quarriers.org.uk

Following a competitive recruitment process which attracted over 50 applicants and a gruelling round of interviews, we have been able to offer a post to five successful candidates. Moira Stewart Family Wellbeing Worker (Central) Tel: 07812 228404 moira.stewart@quarriers.org.uk

Kaye Taylor Family Wellbeing Worker (North) *On maternity leave*

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Congratulations also to Kirsty and Heather from our existing staff team who commenced their team leader roles this month.


Connecting with our community As the COVID crisis escalated and families began to experience the realities of lockdown, Syrian and Iraqi refugee families in Aberdeenshire resettled as part of the UNHCR Vulnerable Persons’ Relocation Scheme, began talking about how they could support NHS Grampian. Most of the families arrived with complex medical issues and have experienced excellent care first hand, so they had a strong desire to support their medics and carers.

The idea was shared on the New Scots WhatsApp group and immediately lots of families replied saying they’d love to help. A pattern and specifications were sourced and the families started making bags and coverings using materials at home or neighbours’ donations.

keen to offer his services making face coverings for us. Cotton fabric and elastic was purchased and delivered to Jonathan so that we would have a supply of face coverings to offer both young and adult carers who might have difficulty sourcing their own. We will take delivery of these brightly coloured, freshly laundered coverings this week so if you require some please get in touch with your Family Wellbeing Worker and we will arrange to post them out to you.

Our service contacted Jonathan through Katie McLean, the Refugee Resettlement Coordinator, and he was more than

We want to say a big thank you to Jonathan for volunteering his time and skills to support our service.

Jonathan Morrison, who had been a fashion designer in Syria, suggested the families use their traditional skills to make scrub bags and face coverings.

Free course for carers We are delighted to announce that we have received ten free licenses from Promas, an organisation who support unpaid carers to access online learning to support them in their caring role. There are seven modules to complete which are a mix of interactive quizzes, videos, downloads and worksheets. The first three modules are free to everyone but modules 4-7, which have a value of £45 are free under the license so that the course can be completed over a 12-month period in your time and at your own pace. To express your interest please email us at aberdeenshirecarers@quarriers. org.uk.

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Kincardine and Deeside Befriending

facilities, or share hobbies and interests. Befrienders carry out a purely social role and do not undertake any personal care or domestic duties.

We are delighted to work in partnership with for the K&D Befriending Service. Although they are unable to offer a faceto-face service at the moment due to the coronavirus, they are still offering support by telephone or letter to people 55+ in Deeside (Crathes to Ballater) who might be experiencing loneliness or who feel socially isolated, especially during these challenging times. This service is for those in a caring role as well as the person they are caring for.

Befriending can provide: • Emotional and practical support • Help enable people to access community facilities

What is befriending?

• Increased confidence and self esteem

Befriending offers supportive, reliable relationships with volunteer befrienders to people who would otherwise be socially isolated.

• Support for carers Whether you just want a contact call from a befriender due to lockdown or shielding or you, or the person you care for, would like to consider taking that first steps to having the support and companionship of a befriender in the future, please let us know and we can put you in touch with Maggie, the Deeside Co-ordinator.

K & D Befriending matches volunteer befrienders on a one to one basis with people over 55 who have become socially isolated because of illness, disability or some difficulty or change of circumstance. Befrienders visit regularly and may undertake activities such as a home visit, a trip out to local place of interest, access local community

Either contact the service or your Family Wellbeing Worker.

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Our COVID response

On Sunday 22 March, our team was told that our office was to close the following day. The service had to quickly respond to make arrangements for closing our office and letting carers and our partners know that our staff team would continue to support carers but that we would be working in a new way. At this point, we had no idea of what that would look like or for how long.

Much like the rest of society we were entering unknown territory and had to adapt to change, loss, a new way of working and looking at innovative ways to not only support carers during these different times but also ourselves. Our staff team are acutely aware of the joys and challenges that unpaid carers face on a daily basis but with the added stress of lockdown, shielding, school closures and social distancing we agreed that practical support, self-care and contact with others was vital.

The following day we received a call to say that Thainstone Mart was closing and that the Thainstone Events team were offering fresh fruit, bakery, eggs, cheese, milk and vegetables and other perishables which would otherwise have to be destroyed. Of course, we said yes.

During lockdown we have managed to stay in contact by phone, social media and the use of technology. In partnership with Alzheimer Scotland we have held online meetings so that carers supporting someone living with dementia have a platform to keep in touch and get peer support. As we cannot hold our regular support groups, we have produced a monthly newsletter which has been posted out to all carers registered with the service so that they can stay informed and connected with each other and the service. We are also holding online groups in August.

With a skeleton team of two staff in the office, we took delivery of the goods and sent out an appeal on our Facebook page for anyone who could get to the office before 5pm to bring along their own carrier bags and egg boxes so that staff could fill them up. The staff dropped off supplies to the local hospital for their staff and the remaining supplies were dropped off at A&I Taxis in Stonehaven who kindly distributed these to those identified as in need through the local network of wellbeing. We would also like to say thank you to our neighbour Jason from JRC Detailing who kindly did a doorstep delivery to a local family known to our service.

With funding received from Aberdeenshire Council, we have been able to support 82 young carers and their siblings to receive resources to get creative and engaged during lockdown. Our Family Wellbeing Workers worked with families to identify I am going to what they would buy a printer as like, and these were this will help with sourced and delivered homework. directly to their home.

Thank you so much. Much appreciated!

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Our COVID response We were invited by Northsound Cash for Kids to take part in their appeal to support young people who might be finding it difficult to source basic essentials due to COVID-19. 63 vouchers for the sum of £35 each were sent out to purchase food, toiletries, educational supplies or craft items. We had to adapt our planned events for Carers Week and were able to offer the families that took part in our Go Together project a virtual private screening of a video of their weekend away to Badaguish, complete with afternoon tea in their own home. This project was funded by Shared Care Scotland and enabled families to get together, share learning and enjoy a break away for a long weekend to Aviemore. Following this busy and interactive weekend, the families had expressed a wish to meet up again this year, so we plan to make this happen once we know that it is safe to do so. The families have kept in touch following the weekend and two parents are also completing their SVQ2 which is available to carers from the local authority. Watch the video here: https://vimeo.com/423554299

Our afternoon tea was fantastic, there was so much included, it stretched to teatime too, and we’ve crisps leftover for tomorrow! Daniel loved watching the video, and shouted ‘Me, Me’ every time he saw himself! He asked to watch the video ‘again, again’ quite a few times. It was good to see the other families again, and a lovely reminder of a fun weekend.

During Carers Week we usually host an event based around the theme for the year, which this year was Making Caring Visible. Unfortunately, we had to improvise so our staff team and Quarriers Senior Management Team took part in a Clap for Unpaid Carers to recognise all those we support and all unpaid carers to help make caring visible and made this video: https://vimeo. com/428140379. Through our Facebook page, the video reached 6,801 people and our post was shared 44 times. 7


My Respite Break from Quarriers Aberdeenshire Service by June Quarriers very kindly gifted me £200 through their Creative Breaks fund for respite from my carers role at home. When they advised me to apply for this, I was delighted that I would be having a break in the not too distant future. Not that I wanted to be parted from my partner who I care for, but to be able to function properly and continue the care, we both needed that wee bit of respite. So, the very idea was wonderful. We both were looking forward to it. The plan was that my partner was going to stay with her daughter for a week while I went further north to visit and catch up with some pals. Our dreams were suddenly and rapidly taken away from us when my partner became seriously ill in February this year. Within eight heartbreaking days she had passed away. February 14th Valentines day. I was totally devastated, our plans, our future, gone in a breath!

interpreter had come to a natural end for the summer - I stayed with Anne in the hospital for the duration, initially mainly for communication purposes – it is extremely difficult to obtain an interpreter at 2am! So, I stayed with her and the nurses and staff made sure I was looked after too. As they often said, it would have been more problematic if I had not been around as the nature of Anne’s illness was unpredictable which meant communication was vital at any time of the day or night. Although this was a very tiring time for me, I would do it again in a whisper.

Let me tell you a wee bit about my partner. She was one year younger than myself, full of mischief for the best part of our 17 years together, challenging, as I am sure many of us are…and profoundly deaf! When we first met all these years ago, I was learning British Sign Language (BSL), Anne’s own language. Through the years, she taught me so much about her language and her culture, because with any language, comes culture. I fell in love with the whole package not realising that slowly but surely my culture was being engulfed. Ultimately, I was a hearing person living in this deaf world - my first language at home was BSL, I thought in BSL, and I had adopted the habits of a deaf person - flashing lights or banging the floor to get someone’s attention for example - whether they were deaf or not!

As you can imagine, once we were home, life was completely different. I had given up my work as it become evident that Anne would need someone to care for her. She had gone from being an independent person, to being totally dependent on me. So, I became her full time carer, but also her communicator which meant making appointments, making telephone calls, sorting out banks, dentists etc, etc. You know the scenario.

Through the years, I progressed to train as a BSL Interpreter - Anne supported me through university and the numerous courses and workshops I attended. Then, four years ago she became ill and was in hospital for four months - at the time my self-employed work as an educational

Two years ago, we were fortunate to obtain a council house in Aberdeenshire, not far from Anne’s son and his family. Continued on page 9. 8


My Respite Break from Quarriers Aberdeenshire Service (continued) The idea was to try and get more family support. Latterly, Anne was hoping to receive some much-needed counselling and, as hard as I tried, we could not find anyone who could sign!

than ever and they told me to use it in any way I found fitting. COVID-19, selfisolation, no travel, so what to do?…you guessed it… it has gone towards courses in preparation for the big one next year….Person-Centred Counselling and Psychotherapy Diploma which I am now looking forward to. I have already passed the Counselling Skills Diploma online through The Centre of Excellence which is an educational online business who have accredited courses and can work towards CPD for almost any subject. I am now halfway through my Mental Health Awareness Diploma. This has given me something positive to aim for in life as previously I felt hopeless, unable to cope with daily life, let alone the ability to study again!

Fast forward to after Anne had passed, I went through a few weeks of total despair as not only had I lost my life partner, but we were in lockdown because of COVID-19 (this happened 10 days after Anne’s funeral). I was introduced, by Anne’s daughter, to a lovely lady who is a life coach (amongst many other things), via telephone, who listened to my problems and tried to give me guidance just to get through each day at that point. One day she dropped a seed about studying and perhaps using my skills as an interpreter. You see, I was telling her about my struggles in trying to find a BSL counsellor for Anne, and she gave me the idea of training to become a counsellor myself and utilising the sign language which meant I could counsel deaf people too - something which Anne missed out on and I believe so many more deaf people would utilise.

I have already thanked Anne’s daughter tenfold, and also the lady in question who initially dropped that all important seed, but I need to say a massive thank you to the Carer Support Service in Aberdeenshire for giving me the opportunity, financially, to start my journey in pursuing a vision which will mean so much to me.

So, a very long story short - when Quarriers sent me the cheque, I tried to return it given the circumstances, but they said I needed it more now

I know Anne will be looking down on me and guiding me through the next chapter every step of the way.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Personal Protective Equipment for Unpaid Carers providing personal care

circumstances will be different. We would also clarify that we are unable to give specific delivery dates and times as this part of the process is being managed the local hub.

We are still processing new orders for PPE and for those carers who have already placed an order and need further supplies.

Please see below the guidance from the Scottish Government with regards to unpaid Carers providing personal care, and if you feel you are eligible, please get in touch with us to submit your request:

The supply of PPE is being coordinated by the Local Authority and we assist in this process by placing an order, weekly, so that unpaid carers who are unable to source from their regular supplier and who are eligible for PPE, can receive a doorstop delivery. Not everyone in a caring role will require PPE as each carer’s

www.gov.scot/publications/ coronavirus-covid-19-advice-forunpaid-carers-providing-personalcare/pages/overview/ 9


Carer blog: when easing isn’t easy by Alison Cram

Easing. Sounds nice, doesn’t it? It conjures up images of lounging on a squishy sofa in a coffee shop sipping a cappuccino and chatting to friends. Perhaps strolling down a beach somewhere or going out for a slap-up meal.

sound you can hear in the background is hollow laughter. I do feel that some general progress has been made - we are more prepared than we were at the start, we know what to expect and hopefully local lockdowns will be enough to deal with any spikes. Most people I know are being sensible and friends and family respect the situation I’m in. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case and I can feel my impatience with those who insist on throwing large parties or treat wearing a facemask for an hour as an infringement of their human rights.

I wish. For lockdown easing feels like an entirely different thing. Yes, things have opened up and people are back at work and the kids will soon be going to school. But for me (and many other family carers too, I suspect) ‘caution’ is still the watchword. The virus hasn’t disappeared and as the continent grapples with what looks increasingly like a second wave, this doesn’t feel like the time to drop my guard.

So I’m only meeting friends in ones and twos outdoors. I’m sticking to essential shopping only and I won’t be sitting in a coffee shop or jumping on a bus anytime soon. I’ll certainly be avoiding pubs like the, er, plague.

Many of the anxieties that carers had during lockdown still apply. What if Dad catches it? What if I get it and am too sick to look after him?

The only luxury I’m allowing myself is a trip to my hairdresser because she works alone, is strict about sticking to the rules and because my resemblance to a Highland cow gets more alarmingly real with every passing week.

The truth is the self-isolating advice just doesn’t work for family carers. I live with Dad and help him with all aspects of his daily life – how can I isolate myself from him when I have to help him get dressed, go to the toilet, eat his meals and brush his teeth? As for social distancing… that

Otherwise… it’s baby steps, people, baby steps. 10


Online carers groups We are now running online groups for unpaid carers via Microsoft Teams. If you are interested, let us know by contacting us on the details below, and we will send you an invite to join the online group. If you have any questions about joining or accessing any of the sessions, please let us know and we can support you. Date and time

Session

2020 Tuesday 1 September 4.15 – 5pm

Young carers - A monthly online group for young people to get together, stay connected, make new friends and catch up with others who are in a caring role.

Wednesday 2 September 3.30 - 4.30pm

Adult carers - A group for those in an unpaid caring role to share information, skills and knowledge and support each other in a safe, nurturing environment.

Friday 4 September 2 – 2.45pm

Adult carers - Explore relaxation and de-stress tools to assist you in your daily life and beyond.

Friday 2 October 2 – 2.45pm

Adult carers - Explore relaxation and de-stress tools to assist you in your daily life and beyond.

Tuesday 6 October 4.15 – 5pm

Young carers - A monthly online group for young people to get together, stay connected, make new friends and catch up with others who are in a caring role.

Wednesday 7 October 3.30 - 4.30pm

Adult carers - A group for those in an unpaid caring role to share information, skills and knowledge and support each other in a safe, nurturing environment.

Tuesday 3 November 4.15 - 5pm

Young carers - A monthly online group for young people to get together, stay connected, make new friends and catch up with others who are in a caring role.

Wednesday 4 November 3.30 - 4.30pm

Adult carers - A group for those in an unpaid caring role to share information, skills and knowledge and support each other in a safe, nurturing environment.

Friday 6 November 2 – 2.45pm

Adult carers - Explore relaxation and de-stress tools to assist you in your daily life and beyond.

Tuesday 1 December 4.15 - 5pm

Young carers - A monthly online group for young people to get together, stay connected, make new friends and catch up with others who are in a caring role.

Wednesday 2 December 3.30 - 4.30pm

Adult carers - A group for those in an unpaid caring role to share information, skills and knowledge and support each other in a safe, nurturing environment.

Friday 4 December 2pm – 2.45pm

Adult carers - Explore relaxation and de-stress tools to assist you in your daily life and beyond.

2021 Tuesday 5 January 4.15 - 5pm

Young carers - A monthly online group for young people to get together, stay connected, make new friends and catch up with others who are in a caring role.

Wednesday 6 January 3.30 - 4.30pm

Adult carers - A group for those in an unpaid caring role to share information, skills and knowledge and support each other in a safe, nurturing environment.

Friday 8 January 2 – 2.45pm

Adult carers - Explore relaxation and de-stress tools to assist you in your daily life and beyond.

Tuesday 2 February 4.15 - 5pm

Young carers - A monthly online group for young people to get together, stay connected, make new friends and catch up with others who are in a caring role.

Wednesday 3 February 3.30 - 4.30pm

Adult carers - A group for those in an unpaid caring role to share information, skills and knowledge and support each other in a safe, nurturing environment.

Friday 5 February 2 – 2.45pm

Adult carers - Explore relaxation and de-stress tools to assist you in your daily life and beyond. 11


Respitality As you know, our existing partners and potential businesses who might wish to be a respitality partner are at various stages of getting back to being able to open or function in a way that keeps them and their customers safe. Ann, our Wellbeing Worker for Respitality has been keeping in touch with Shared Care Scotland and our partners so that, collectively, we can look at how and when we can take this project forward once again. In the meantime, Ann has become a valuable resource to the service during this time when staff are working from home and offering support by telephone and social media platforms.

regular weekly or fortnightly calls to chat with carers who requested this service. Ann has formed meaningful relationships and although she has been a supportive voice at the end of the telephone, some of the carers who are receiving these calls have expressed a wish to meet with her in person so we hope that we can arrange a wee gathering soon to meet her in person.

From conversations with carers, we were aware that not all carers required support for their caring role but that some carers were feeling isolated and would appreciate a call from someone other than their family and friends. Someone who understood how it felt to be in a caring role whilst coping with the current challenges but who could offer a positive conversation about life alongside caring. During lockdown, Ann has been making

Aberdeenshire Carer Support Service Wardes Road, Inverurie AB51 3TT

Creative Breaks

Tel: 01467 538700 Email us on: aberdeenshirecarers@quarriers.org.uk

This fund is now closed. For those who applied recently, we will be in touch soon to let you know the status of your application.

Quarriers is a registered Scottish Charity No SC001960

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