At Mearns Kirk Helping Hands, our charitable aims are to reduce loneliness and isolation and improve health and wellbeing.
Now more than ever the kind of groups and activities we provide to achieve these aims are so important to so many people. It is safe to say that the pandemic has presented many challenges, both in terms of our work and for many of the people who come to our groups and activities. Reduced opportunities to spend time with others, along with feelings of worry and uncertainty all have an impact on our wellbeing. We miss being with our groups, seeing people coming together and feeling part of something.
But the last year has also presented us with opportunities to learn and to adapt in ways we might not have considered before. Our Trustees, volunteers, and staff have worked together to find creative ways to offer as much support to our community as possible while keeping everybody safe. Some of our activity has moved online, some supports have been delivered over the phone, and some people have kept in touch by email or letter. Some of these new ways of working might be things we can harness to allow us to reach out to more people in the future, particularly those who find it hard to get out and about.
It is largely down to the hard work and dedication our wonderful volunteers that we have been able to continue the following activities. To all our volunteers we say a huge thank you, as always.
The Eastwood Bereavement Support Group
The Bereavement Support Group now meets online (via Zoom) once a fortnight on Tuesday evenings at 7.30pm. The volunteer team recognised the need for this group to recommence as soon as possible in the current circumstances, and the first online group was held in November 2020. You will see upcoming dates for the group in the “What’s On at Mearns Kirk Helping Hands” document accompanying this update, along with how to get in touch with the group.
The Lunch and Social Club for People Living with Dementia
The Club is currently running online activities for people living with dementia and their families or carers every Thursday afternoon. Volunteers have put together a carefully thought- out programme of activities, including musical entertainments, reminiscence sessions and an upcoming Easter celebration. Again, details of how to get involved are given in the “What’s On” guide.
Our Befriending Project launched in November 2020 and is funded by the National Lottery as a one- year pilot in the first instance. The Project is aimed at providing companionship to people aged 65 and over who are experiencing loneliness or isolation and live in or around the Newton Mearns area. Due to restrictions, befriending is currently taking place by phone or video call. When restrictions ease and it is safe to do so we will offer face to face befriending. Contact details for the project lead, Liz Highet, are in the “What’s On” guide.
We have been offering online tai chi classes on a weekly basis with our resident tutor, Jamie Simpson. Jamie keeps the classes suitable for beginners, friendly and fun. You can find more information in the “What’s On” guide.
IT For Beginners Classes
We have partnered with staff from Glasgow Life to continue to provide online IT learning opportunities for people with limited experience of using computers or tablets. This has been particularly beneficial during periods of lockdown. People have wanted to learn how to use email or video calling to keep in touch with friends and family, or how to shop online safely. A group is currently running but we will have another group starting some time after Easter (dates tbc). If you are interested, please see the “What’s On” guide for contact details.
Blether and Brew
We offer our Blether and Brew activity online (via Zoom) once a fortnight on Wednesday afternoons. It is an informal get together, a nice hour just to relax, have a cuppa and chat to other people. We are never stuck for something to talk about! Upcoming dates are in the “What’s On”, or just get in touch and we can tell you when the next session is happening.
We understand that for some people, access to a computer or not knowing how to use Zoom (video calling) or the internet might be a barrier to joining some of these activities. If you or someone you know would like to get involved but this is a problem, please get in touch with us. We have some tablet devices we can loan out, and people who can help you to get online.
You can contact our staff team at:
07858 552 767
Our website is mkhelpinghands.org.uk
Our Facebook page is www.facebook.com/MearnsKirkHelpingHands/