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RVS survey reveals Scottish Covid crisis of confidence

By Alan Beresford

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FOUR in 10 over-50s in Scotland have lost confidence as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, while three in 10 fear catching the virus and feel safer at home, new research has revealed.

RVS client Derek enjoys a socially distanced chat with volunteer Alex. Picture: RVS
RVS client Derek enjoys a socially distanced chat with volunteer Alex. Picture: RVS

The study by Royal Voluntary Service (RVS), the national volunteering charity, and long-time supporter Yakult, identified that almost three in 10 (29 per cent) over-50s in Scotland had been unable to do any of the things they used to enjoy, and felt less confident to shop (49 per cent), visit friends (35 per cent), eat out (62 per cent) and use public transport (63 per cent).

Nearly one in five (19 per cent) expected it to be at least six months before they felt ready to return to their daily way of life. More than half of respondents (55 per cent) said they miss the freedom to do as they please and 32 per cent miss their old life.

Daily worries about the pandemic affected five in 10 (55 per cent) respondents, with many (18 per cent) feeling anxious a lot of the time.

Vital to improving the confidence of respondents was the development of a vaccine (82 per cent), falling mortality rates (48 per cent) and the widespread provision and wearing of masks and gloves (41 per cent).

The research was released to accompany a new film highlighting the vital work RVS is doing to support the most vulnerable people during the Covid-19 crisis. The charity is appealing for donations to support this work.

Sam Ward, Director of Services and Deputy Chief Executive at Royal Voluntary Service said: “With life still on hold for so many, people’s mental and physical wellbeing are suffering.

"Royal Voluntary Service is working in communities to reach those at risk, providing services that really matter, that build confidence and resilience, and that ensure social interaction, either virtually or in person. We deliver emergency food packs, essential groceries and prescriptions, make companionship calls, drive people to urgent medical appointments and settle patients back home after a stay in hospital.

"Our online activity programme, the Virtual Village Hall, is also helping people keep active and interested. Our services have never been in such high demand and we would be profoundly grateful for donations so that we can support even more people that need us.”

RVS client Derek, who features in the new video, said: “I knew all about coronavirus, but I didn’t expect to catch it myself.

"When I got back from hospital, I was so exhausted, I was all alone and isolation was really starting to take its toll. Life was very difficult so Royal Voluntary Service organised for Alex, a young volunteer, to call me regularly to check how I was doing.

"We hit it off straight away and she’s made such a difference to my life, she’s really kept me going. I’m well enough now for Alex to visit me, at a distance of course, so now we can chat in person. I really enjoy that.”

To make a donation to support the charity’s work during the COVID-19 pandemic, visit royalvoluntaryservice.org.uk/donate

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