Meals, phone-calls and Zoom: how one GCU student is helping make all the difference

Mon, 18 May 2020 16:19:00 BST
Amy and her mum found the charity, Create A Smile Scotland in 2015
Amy and her mum found the charity, Create A Smile Scotland in 2015

A GCU student is helping support the most vulnerable in a rural Ayrshire village.

School of Health and Life Sciences PHD student, Amy McEwan, is one of the founding members of Create A Smile Scotland (CHASS) - which aims to tackle loneliness and bring people closer together.

Amy explained the background to the charity and the role they’re playing during lockdown in Drongan, East Ayrshire.

She said: “My mum and I started this in 2015 and originally gave out parcels to folk at Christmas who were living on their own.

CHASS was then given charity status two years later and our work now mainly focuses on the elderly and those with disabilities.

It’s easy to think people will be fine in their homes and supported by loved ones but often that’s not the case. Sometimes, family members have moved down south or to Glasgow and there’s no-one here to help out – that’s where we come in.”

Amy added: “A lot of people are shielding in their homes with the threat of covid. We’ve been delivering 18 meals per day, five times a week to help save the most vulnerable risking a journey to the shops.

We’re also doing phone calls with the elderly and talking about memories to keep their mind off the current situation.”

In addition to this, Amy has been helping facilitate Zoom calls to help CHASS’s very own drama group continue from home.

She explained: “It was exceptionally important for us to keep this active because it brings together people from all walks of life.

Some of our group are non-verbal, so it gives them the chance to see everyone they would usually meet up with – that sort of thing can make all the difference.”

The effort the charity is showing hasn’t gone unnoticed by local residents.

Amy said: “One of the women we deliver meals to recently brought out a big box of chocolates for us.

We don’t do this for recognition but it’s always nice to know the work you’re doing is appreciated.”

Amy added: “I think everyone has a duty to help if they can, especially in rural communities. It’s vital that we all step up during times like these and help everybody get through.”

By Ross Clark

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