• BigDisabilityGroup


By Kevin Crawford

I thought this would be a good time to write about the important role organisations, groups and clubs play in tackling isolation and loneliness on a daily basis, long before the lock down began.

For many disabled and elderly people this period of isolation will just be like every other day to them.

But with the support from their local organisations, groups and clubs many of them were getting the chance to get out and socialise and take back control of their lives again.

For example you have Clyde Shopmobility who have over 1,200 members who use their mobility scooter and sighted guide service.

That’s the amount of people who are able to get out, go shopping, meet friends, have a wee day out wandering about Clydebank and are helping local businesses by being able to get out and spend money in local shops.

Now imagine if we didn’t have Clyde Shopmobility, that would be over 1,200 people isolated unable to get out and about and do things most people take for granted.

I have personal experience of how important Clyde Shopmobility’s service can be.

I was in a wheelchair for a couple of years and as I worked hard to get out of it and get around in crutches instead, I still found it difficult to get out and about.

I remember phoning Jackie Maceira (director at Clyde Shopmobility) and telling him I got stuck in the shopping centre one day and couldn’t go any further, I couldn’t even hold myself up. He told me next time just to phone the shop and someone would bring a powerchair to me. This really reassured me that I didn’t have to be anxious about going out anymore, after it had taken me many months to build up the confidence to go out after not being able to walk for nearly two years.

That’s just one example of the organisations out there but there are many more.

Here are just a few examples:

Stepping Stones

They provide a range of Support Services for people experiencing common mental health problems.

Just some of the supports they have to offer,

Aspire (Group Support)

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (One to One Support)

Connections (group Support)

Individual Support (One to One Support)

Person Centred Therapy (One to One Support)

Reflect and Connect (Group Support)

Relaxation (Group Support)

Tai Chi (Group Support)

Wellness Recovery Action Planning (WRAP) (Group Support)

Alzheimer Scotland

Alzheimer Scotland believe nobody should face dementia alone. They’re committed to making sure people living with dementia have access to the right care, support and information in the heart of local communities. They campaign for the rights of people with dementia and their families and provide an extensive range of innovative and personalised support services.

Carers of West Dunbartonshire

The service provides a range of support for carers who are 18 and over and encourage you to make as much use of it as you can to assist you with your caring role.

The Carers Centre is the office base of the Service Manager, Carer Support Workers and the Administration staff. They are there to help you with enquiries, provide a listening ear and offer support, both practical and emotional.

They operate an outreach service at venues throughout West Dunbartonshire which provides carers with the opportunity to access carer support easily. Complementary therapies, carers training and group work, Carer support staff will also visit you at home if required.

Duntocher Black Stars

A local Disability Football Club who now have four teams.

Helping young people build on their confidence and ability, learning to focus their energy, teaching them to keep fit and healthy and building friendships along the way.

Golden Friendships

A place for people with physical and learning disabilities to go and enjoy some entertainment, join in their daily events, also for the elderly to have a day out with entertainment and make new friends.

Independent Resource Centre

There to help with information and advice for debt, welfare and money, help to fill in benefit applications and to let you know if you are receiving everything you are entitled to.

Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB)

Citizens Advice Bureau gives advice and helps solve problems, including debt and consumer issues, benefits, housing, legal matters, employment and immigration.

WD Foodshare

Are an independent community based charity providing food parcels to residents of West Dunbartonshire in need. They also have a Christmas Toy bank, School Uniform bank and a fuel poverty partnership. During all school holidays, they provide holiday brunch bags for children, in August 2019 the charity launched it’s newest project, the Baby bank. Available to all parents, the project seeks to help reduce the costs of having a new baby, as well as increasing recycling and reducing waste.

Food for Thought

They Provide emergency food and ongoing support in a non judgemental way to anyone in need in West Dunbartonshire.

Emergency food aid, Christmas toy bank, Christmas day dinner, Easter Egg bank, Uniform bank, New Years night dinner, Ongoing Support, Free Community lunch.

The Advisory Group (TAG)

The Advisory Group has been going since 1996. It was originally set up by KEY Community Supports to Enable people with learning disabilities to have a stronger voice in the services they use and in their local communities.

In 2012 The Advisory Group became a Scottish Charity.

The Advisory Group is an Organisation run by people with learning disabilities. It promotes social inclusion and the creation of a Scotland where the gifts and talents of everyone are recognised and every citizen is seen to have equal value in society.

They do this through training, consultation, hosting social inclusion events and bringing people together.

These are just some of the Support Services available to help those who feel alone and isolated.

Even now during the Lock Down many of these support services have adapted so that they can still deliver support to those who need it most.

When this is over and everyone goes back to their normal lives PLEASE stop and think about those still stuck in isolation, and without the ongoing support provided by these support services would have no one to turn to.

Many people will still be stuck in isolation when the lock down ends, I hope that we can all take something from this experience and continue to work together to help those who need it most.

The Big Disability Group will continue to tackle isolation and loneliness and highlight what support services are out there and continue to put people in touch with the right information and support they need, taking away the hassle and stress of trying to track it down for themselves.



Kevin Crawford

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