Rotary Club donation helps young carers

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Dozens of unpaid young carers across Oban, Lorn and the Isles will continue to get emotional and practical support with help from rotarians.

Oban Rotary Club  handed over £4,000 to Judith Hawcroft, manager of the North Argyll Carers Centre this week.

It is the third installment of a three-year £12,000 pledge by the town’s rotarians to the organisation which helps young carers across the area –  aged from eight to 18.

Judith Hawcroft, manager of the Albany Street service, said it supported around 124 young carers across the area and around 600 over the age of 18.

She thanked Oban Rotary Club and said the sum was ‘very significant’ to the work it does for young carers and ‘hugely valued’.

Past president Tommy McQuade said: ‘The Rotary Club of Oban are very proud to have been able to assist in some small way with the fantastic work by the North Argyll Young Carers group. Many of these children are hidden from view and can so easily be overlooked.’

North Argyll Carers Centre is Making Caring Visible this Carers
Week  from Monday June 8 to Sunday June 14.

Although COVID-19 meant the centre’s office  had to close and stopped face-to-face contact, its workers have  tried to think creatively while working from home, looking at it as a new challenge to find ways of extending its service.

‘These are difficult times but in almost any situation it is possible to find positives and we have seen this with the introduction of remote delivery of carer support.

‘As well as maintaining connections through regular support calls to all or registered carers, we are using Facebook and Whatsapp groups, video calling and Zoom. We are making full use of our website and social media to ensure that information carers need is available to them,’ said manager Miss Hawcroft.

A wellbeing blog has been set up and weekly wellbeing groups are being replaced with virtual sessions. There are daily groups for young carers, replacing after-school clubs, lunchtime drop-ins and 1:1s, and the
introduction of homework clubs, craft activities, projects and challenges.

‘The use of these remote ways of accessing services has opened up their availability to carers in more remote areas. We have seen island carers join in with our weekly coffee mornings and meet up with the team and other carers from across North Argyll,’ added Miss Hawcroft.

To mark Carers Week the Centre is running  a Creative Writing, Arts and
Crafts competition on Facebook inviting carers to express how they feel as a carer during lockdown – the deadline for entries is June 14.

Voting for the categories Adult Writing, Adult Arts and Crafts, Young Carer Writing and Young Carer Arts and Crafts will  run on Facebook from Monday  June 15 to Thursday June 18 with the winners announced on Friday  June 19 online. The lucky winners will get gift vouchers to buy themselves a treat.

‘We would encourage everyone to go to our Facebook page, view the gallery and vote for their favourites; and should someone recognise their own situation, or that of someone they know, from what they have read here or in the creative work on our Facebook page, we would welcome them to get in contact with us to see what support we can offer them,’ said Miss Hawcroft.

Entries for the creative writing and art competitions should be  emailed to Mairi@northargyllcarers.org.uk