Forres Area Community Trust Cameron Champions supported 42 people during the coronavirus lockdown
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AN older persons' support scheme was been boosted by more than 40 new recruits during the coronavirus pandemic.
It was initially feared that Forres Area Community Trust's (FACT) volunteer and befriending program, the Cameron Project, would have to stop to prevent the spread of Covid-19 but it was transformed instead when it became apparent that many more old folk in lockdown would require its services.
Project co-ordinator, Kirsty Williams, was overwhelmed with the response, recruiting volunteers to help with shopping, prescription collections and friendly telephone calls.
She said: "Social isolation can be harmful to older people in particular so we wanted to make sure we could keep in touch with those already known to us as well as new faces seeking help.
"Although volunteers would no longer be able to do face-to-face visits, we could offer telephone befriending to keep in touch with those self isolating or shielding."
FACT registered as a Covid response team with the Grampian Assistance hub and received funding up to the end of September to help their referrals.
"We have been supporting 42 people over the lockdown," said Ms Williams, "16 of whom have been receiving regular telephone calls from Cameron’s Champions. When we set up the shopping, we ensured no money changed hands and everyone was safe. Once it is delivered the recipients pay over the phone to a member of staff."
Forres Community Council member Lesley Edwards is a Cameron's Champion.
She said: "I befriended an elderly couple and phoned them once-a-week to see how they were during lockdown. They were very appreciative and a pleasure to work with. It gave me a lot of personal satisfaction."
Personal Protective Equipment was issued to volunteer shoppers who worked closely with Tesco Forres who allowed them to shop during the vulnerable shopping times on Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings.
FACT also recruited volunteers to drive the Forres Osprey Bus and deliver shopping.
More vulnerable applicants in need of food were referred to FACT's community larder project.
Ms Williams said: "The project has been a great success and we hope that some of the people who didn’t know about us before may wish to join Cameron Project activities when they are able to restart.
"It is hoped that we can have an event in the future to celebrate how fortunate we are to live in such a connected and supportive community."
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