Back in March 2020 we started support work through the #SupportDG initiative and received the first emergency funding in conjunction with Stranraer Development Trust with a grant from the “Supporting Communities Fund” from Scottish Government, administered through the Development Trust Association of Scotland. This provided immediate help to vulnerable Portpatrick residents, with food parcels, collecting medicines and shopping.
We then received additional support for resilience action through the “National Lottery Awards for All” and the “Community Response, Recovery, and Resilience Fund”. Administered by Foundation Scotland.
· Provision of food parcels,
· Emergency payment for utilities,
· Provision of hot and frozen meals,
· A listening ear,
· Delivery of essential medication
· Transport to Doctor and Ophthalmic appointments
· Shopping for those who are in complete isolation
· Sign-posting and advocacy services
· Financial Support (Elec and Phone bills)
The numbers for specific services are:
With follow on funding from Foundation Scotland’s Response, Recovery and Resilience Find and the Big Lottery Communities Fund we have been able to carrry on right through the summer and through this second major part of the crisis. By the end of February 2021we had driven 2800 miles, supported 122 grocery shopping trips and 18 Doctor or A&E visits and 104 Pharmacy pickups, helped someone move house, and carried out another house clearance. We had secured additional benefit and health payments payments , heating allowances and rent rebates and and re-instated health support services that had been wrongfully withdrawn.
Thanks to all our volunteers but a very special thank you to Heather who has been doing 2-3 and sometimes 4 or more visits to Stranraer per week and has handled all of the advocacy support work. She has achieved some great successes getting additional medical and mental health support and accessing universal credit payments and getting housing benefits cuts reversed and negotiating utility build payments etc. not to mention some appliance repairs, lightbulbs changes and getting a new carpet fitted!
As restrictions ease we will be able to open up more and provide a wider range of services and activities to support economic and social recovery. Once we get through the immediate infection risks, with the roll-out of the vaccines it is apparent that the economic and social impacts will continue to be felt for some time.
Loneliness, social isolation, money worries and access to social and medical services remain issues for many in our community.
There is much that communities can do to support each other and support a more cohesive and inclusive recovery. At PCDT we are looking to build on the achievements of this last year, supporting unincorporated groups and bringing together those with common interests. – See the Gaitherin Place