Volunteers’ Week – Wigtown and District Resilience Scheme

For Volunteers’ Week, we share the success of the Wigtown and District Resilience Scheme through the thoughts of Sandra McDowall, Convener of Wigtown and District Community Council.

“Way back in March when this crisis began, it came as a shock to realise that I was considered one of the vulnerable elderly who were being advised to self-isolate or at the very least maintain social distancing.

“I also realised just how difficult that was going to be for many living in our community without the support of family members living close at hand.

“That’s why I totally supported the suggestion that the Wigtown and District Community Council’s Resilience Group introduce a red card scheme to provide support for the more vulnerable in our community.

“Members of the group began the process of enlisting volunteers, launching a Facebook page and agreeing how and when the support would be provided. A flier was prepared and delivered by volunteers to every household in the settlements of Wigtown, Bladnoch, Kirkinner and Whauphill, along with the much-appreciated red cards of course!

“The volunteers who registered, 80 of them, were allocated a route to walk every day checking windows for red cards and, initially, each route was checked four times a day; as a pattern developed, this was reduced to three a day.

“As time went on, it became evident that larger weekly shopping was also required and the local Co-op allocated pick and pack slots before the store opened so that our volunteers could do multiple weekly shops more safely.

“The local chemist introduced a resilience box and, on request, prescriptions are placed in the box and collected on a daily basis for delivery by our volunteers. Volunteers now respond to about 100 red cards a week and deliver around 40 prescriptions a week.

“I’ve lost count of the number of times the scheme and the volunteers have been praised by residents that I happen to see when out walking. The gratitude expressed and the acknowledgements made that without the red cards they could not have coped, is really gratifying.

“They all appreciate the comfort and security the scheme provides; just knowing that someone who cares is there and is keeping a watchful eye on them.

“An enormous task and all provided by volunteers who do it willingly, without reward, simply because they can.  No wonder Wigtown and District Community Council, in recognition of Volunteers’ Week, sent a special Thank-you card to all our registered volunteers this week.

“They epitomise all that is good at this time and they need to be aware that the community will be eternally grateful for what they are doing.”

Wigtown picture: Colin Tennant