Shopper-Aide reveals the cost of lockdown

During lockdown, Shopper-Aide delivered 2,160 virtual afternoon teas to clients. Recently, small groups have been able to gather to enjoy afternoon teas together, including these clients and volunteers in Carradale.

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More than £200,000 spent on shopping for over 5,000 clients, and nearly 600 jigsaws delivered to over-60s in the community.

Those are some of the figures reflecting the first year of the Covid-19 pandemic for Campbeltown-based charity Shopper-Aide whose report went before councillors and community chiefs this week.

The document also told how businesses and schools donated toilet paper for use by the public around Kintyre as the pandemic took hold in March 2020.

The charity’s staff and volunteer phone buddies also made more than 5,000 phone calls to clients between March 23, 2020 and March 22, 2021.

The report revealed that £210,940 was spent on shopping within the local economy for the cause’s clients, and shopping was done for 5,031 clients in 10,478 shop visits.

A total of 2,160 virtual afternoon teas were delivered to all clients, including to island residents on Gigha.

Glasses and hearing aid batteries were also delivered and white goods purchased for those who needed them.

A spokesperson for the charity said: ‘All of the above are just some of what we carried out and have continued to do to make a difference to older people’s lives in Kintyre.

‘However, we have also lost clients (not to Covid) but continue to have new referrals – either self or from other statutory and voluntary agencies.

‘We have restarted the housekeeping service and Garry’s Gang (a men-only weekly outing with three-to-four vehicles where volunteers and clients enjoy a time out) and other sessions using our wheelchair accessible vehicle.

‘Until we can set up larger groups, we have been mainly concentrating on those who have been alone over the last 18 months and need to engage with the outside world again.’

The spokesperson added: ‘Perhaps, more than anything, the events of this year have shown how important we have become to the community.

‘We have illustrated that as an organisation, we have been able to adapt very quickly to provide services for older people, especially for those who needed to be shielded as well as others who had to change their lives just because of their age.

‘Our rurality as well as the loss of social activities changed many people’s lives and they now had to rely on others.

‘We became a conduit for access to services, information and the world. Even now many are afraid to go out while others are desperate for company.

‘At the start of lockdown when there was a rush for toilet paper, this was a problem for many clients as they usually bought a pack of four every other week and as shoppers we had trouble getting it.

‘However, as cafés, hotels and the schools shut down, many gifted us any they had and if we couldn’t buy any for a client we gave from this supply. This was just one of the ways we had help for our clients from the general public and businesses.’