Charity comes up with best-laid plan for May

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A carers respite charity has come to the rescue with an egg-stra special special delivery of hens to Colonsay.

When news reached Crossroads North Argyll on the mainland that a predator had killed a hen belonging to 80-year-old islander May MacKinnon, the charity decided to help.

Four hens needing new homes were sourced the next day after Crossroads manager Joan Best mentioned May’s plight to friend Ali Martin, who works as an adult carer support worker with North Argyll Carers Centre.

Ali collected the hens and, in boxes donated by Pets at Home, MacLennans of Oban transported them  safe and sound on the Colonsay ferry – and the happy hens even had a week gift for May by producing two eggs on the way.

May, who lives independently but gets care from her nephew and support from Crossroads care attendant Shonagh Musgrave, is now ‘over the moon’ with her new feathered friends, said Mrs Best.

May’s nephew Gavin Clark said: ‘This is such a lovely thing for Crossroads to do to support their clients in this difficult time.

‘For May, it’s made a huge difference. It was not something she was expecting and has really given her a new lease of life. She’s very excited to have the hens on the croft.

‘She always loved having animals, from hens to geese and donkeys in her lifetime. But lately these had been reduced in numbers and unfortunately she was only left with the one hen. She has really missed not having hens around and it’s given her a new lease of life. Thank you, Crossroads. I don’t think you will even know just how much this has really boosted May’s confidence and belief that nice things can happen to anyone.’

Crossroads North Argyll, which helps 27 unpaid carers across Oban, Lorn and the Isles every week , got successful funding from Foundation Scotland and the Corra Foundation to provide alternative respite for unpaid heroes during lockdown.

Electronic devices such as tablets, laptops, Alexa and magazine subscriptions, colouring-in books and pencils, binoculars, books and DVDs are just some of the items already bought with the funding to help give carers a little break as lockdown goes on and they continue to look after their loved ones.

It was at a staff meeting that the demise of May’s much-loved hens was mentioned and a plan was hatched.

Mrs Best said: ‘It was a real team effort to help May. Thanks to Ali Martin, Pets at Home and MacLennans for helping make this somewhat impossible task a reality.’

Although the Albany Street-based charity is not offering a face-to-face service during COVID-19, it still wants to hear from unpaid carers it can start preparing to help.

To get in touch call 01631 562277 or email joan@crossroadsna.org.uk