Pictured (left to right): employee volunteers, Alasdair and Callum.
When Alasdair Coleman and Callum Aird signed up as employee volunteers, little did they realise their love of driving would help a frontline service deliver vital care.
Since the end of April, the duo have driven two personal carers - who would normally make visits on foot - to evening appointments across Denny and Dunipace, helping them increase the time they spend with service users.
Getting up to speed
Initial concerns over any potential risks related to COVID-19 were quickly eased after both men completed an induction and were given clear guidance on the use of PPE.
The pair also follow a rigorous cleaning routine, using antibacterial wipes to clean surfaces in the Council pool cars they drive before and after use – and they regularly wash their hands.
Alasdair, a Parking Attendant, who is currently unable to do his day job due to lockdown, has found volunteering “a rewarding and satisfying experience” and only has praise for Caroline, the personal carer he works with.
He said: “As a parking attendant I spend most of my day walking around different parts of the Council area. I was missing that aspect of my job, so when my boss emailed about volunteering I was keen to help as I could see from the news what a devastating impact COVID-19 was having.
“I was a bit concerned initially about the risks but I’m very reassured by Home Care’s working practices, and by the fact we have adequate supplies of the types of PPE we need. I also think Caroline does an amazing job, as do all carers. It’s not an easy job, but it is a vital one that is often overlooked.”
Enjoying the open road
Callum, who works for our Energy & Climate Change Team, currently splits his working week between his day job and volunteering. He was surprised that something as simple as driving could be so helpful. He too has found the experience rewarding.
He said: “I registered to volunteer as soon as the scheme opened, as I was keen to do my bit to help out if there were other areas of the Council struggling. It also meant I could get out of the house for a few days a week. Driving is something I enjoy, especially when the roads are quiet, so I was happy to volunteer for this. Betty, the carer I work with, is lovely. She even bought me a few beers for my birthday, which was very nice of her.”
Above and beyond
As well as increasing contact time with service users, driving carers to visits means they are able to cover a greater area than they would normally on foot. It also provides them with support when visiting unfamiliar areas, especially later in the evening.
Home care Manager, Julie Birse, said:
“The volunteer drivers have been very accommodating. I’m grateful for their continued commitment.
"I also want to give my gratitude to our carers. I’ve so much respect for the work they continue to do.
"Having drivers support and help them is testament to the generosity and commitment of both Alasdair and Callum."