Renfrewshire Carers Centre’s Volunteer Project supports many services within the Centre including support groups as well as Volunteering opportunities.
Renfrewshire Carers Centre relies on Volunteers to increase the range of services they can offer to Carers. Volunteers make a huge contribution and allow the Centre to work and support carers in Renfrewshire.
The Volunteers can befriend carers, cared for, support people with physical or learning difficulties, children/young adults and older people. Volunteers can offer companionship and relieve isolation by befriending and visiting the person in their own home. Volunteers can help with activities at groups such as young carers and groups supporting young people with ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) as well as many other voluntary roles.
All Volunteers undertake an induction training course, PVG (Protecting Vulnerable Groups membership) and two references are taken up. We offer social events where Volunteers get a chance to meet other Volunteers, have fun and make new friends. This gives them a chance to become involved in the local community. Volunteers get the opportunity to develop and use their skills and experiences. They are an integral part of the Centre, without their gift of time we could not offer Carers the services we do. Volunteering is beneficial for the Centre and the Volunteers.
One of the Volunteers and a parent-carer, Joan Morris, who recently won The Marsh Award, told us about the benefits of being a Volunteer. Joan has been supporting and caring for two family members for approximately 30 years. She is dealing with challenging behaviour, reasoning, trying to see things how others with a disability do.
Joan said: “I have volunteered for approximately 30+ years in various projects and during that time I then decided to do some volunteering for the Carer Centre.”
She added: “The Carers Centre has supported me in various ways, including being able to get counselling when required and at short notice rather than have to look at the GP option of tablets. I have attended many courses which are very useful as well as many social events and parent support group. All these things enable me to meet with others in same/similar situations. Volunteering gives me the opportunity to put things in perspective and also enables me to give something back.”
The Volunteer project also facilitates The Parent Carer of Children with Disabilities Support Group which offers a variety of services which support parents who care for Children with Disabilities. One of the Parent Carers, Lyndie Gibson, mother of two young boys, Jamie 7-years-old who has classic Autism and Cameron 5-years-old with traits of Asperger Syndrome, told us that it is not an easy task to care for a child with delayed development and learning issues. Lyndie explained that Renfrewshire Carers Centre provided her with the opportunity to learn about Autism in order to help Jamie. Things such as using Makaton sign language to communicate with him as a toddler, to finding ways to help him sleep and understanding what he likes. Lyndie has used a number of different services from the Carers Centre. In her words: “I found the Carers Centre by accident when Jamie was 3yrs and 11 months and I was at breaking point. I had called every number I could find that offered support to families with children who had disabilities, everyone said they would get back to me in the next week or two. But not the Carers Centre, the duty worker spent 30 minutes listening to me and gave me the information about the Parent Support Group meetings. There happened to be one that night. So I went along and have done every month since.”
Lyndie told us about different activities within the support group that offered her an opportunity to get some time away from her caring responsibilities, socialise and relax. Lyndie said: “The monthly Parent Support meetings are like therapy, we have a laugh but on a more serious note any issues I am having with school, and health. I have found a group member has been there before and has advice and ideas to try. The Parent Support Group social nights are my life line to the outside world as Jamie doesn’t sleep well I miss out on most social nights with my friends as I cancelled too many times, they don’t invite me any more. The group understand if I have to cancel last minute or have to leave early. The trips with the group are a wonderful, to have a lovely day out on my own with my boys, knowing there is support around if I need it. These trips have given me the confidence to take the boys on other outings and holidays on my own. It’s given me the confidence to ignore the looks and comments that my sons get if they have a melt down in public.”
For more information please call the Centre 0141 887 3643 or visit the website: http://renfrewshirecarers.co.uk/our-services/volunteer-project