Can you help us keep older people connected during these unprecedented times?
At Mearns Kirk Helping Hands, we aim to reduce loneliness and isolation and improve health and wellbeing; we're growing our community together.
Our team of 90 dedicated volunteers are our greatest asset. We believe in supporting people to use their skills, knowledge and experience in shaping our work to the needs of our community.
Who we are
Because we listen to what our volunteers and members of our community tell us they need, the activities and supports we provide are quite varied. Support and respite for people living with dementia and their families, IT skills development sessions for older people, social activities and befriending, peer support groups for those with cancer and those experiencing grief and loss, tai chi, a men's breakfast club... last year we welcomed over 500 people through our doors. You can see all that we do here, on our website:
None of this would be possible without our team of dedicated and enthusiastic volunteers, who undertake a variety of roles; from administrator to driver, kitchen helper to group leader. All working together to provide meaningful and enjoyable experiences for those who attend: the atmosphere when our activities are in full swing is tremedous.
For example, before the pandemic, every Thursday afternoon we would host our Lunch Club for People Living with Dementia. Over 30 volunteers would meet in the halls in their various roles to prepare for the afternoon to welcome 20 members of the community living with dementia. The afternoon provided a delicious lunch, games and activities, music and company. This also provided a much needed break for family members.
Similarly, every second Tuesday we would host our Friendship Club. An enjoyable afternoon for people in our community looking for an afternoon of good company, entertainment and afternoon tea. Over 70 people coming together and singing along to some great songs, the perfect afternoon!
Sadly, like many other services, COVID-19 forced us to close our doors. This has meant we have lost vital revenue generated from donations given to attend our activities but most importantly, people in our community have been unable to benefit from our services. Like many other organisations, we adapted; providing online meetings and telephone befriending to the most isolated and vulnerable people in our community but it's not quite the same.
As restrictions start to ease and we can begin to offer some of our services again, we know there will be an increase in demand for the groups and activities we offer. We also know that we will have to adapt a lot of what we already do, and create new ways of engaging with people. Partnership working, already one of our strengths, will be even greater importance, to make sure resources are shared and people are getting access to the supports they need.
We are strong, dynamic and aim to provide all this and more, to meet the needs of our community BUT...
We Need Some Help From You
We need to secure funds for our core costs to ensure our services can run safely and smoothly, our volunteers feel valued and supported and most importantly so we can meet the demands of our community and help as many people as possible. Our project is mainly volunteer led, with only two staff members supporting all that we do. Vital funds will go towards core costs to keep our staff in place and cover essential overheads.
As one of our group members said "I fair miss the company, the music, we need to have that again."
Even if you can't donate right now, you can help in other ways. Like us on Facebook, share our content, visit our website and tell people what we do. If you're local to us, you could consider volunteering your time!
Whatever you can do to support us, it will make a difference. Thank you!