Donna Kirkwood.jpg 2by Democrat reporter

Dedicated Council  employees are volunteering in a range of critical roles to help deal with the ongoing Covid19 pandemic.

The volunteers have moved from a range of non-essential roles in services including Housing, OD and Change and Regeneration to provide extra resource in areas with the most demand.

They are now in place supporting residents over the phone in the contact centre, reaching out to vulnerable people on the shielding list, assisting with care services and driving deliveries of essential supplies.

Donna Kirkwood, pictured right,  usually works in the Housing Development team, but volunteered to help  some of the area’s most vulnerable and isolated tenants and residents as part of the Crisis Support Team.

So far she has supported over 30 vulnerable residents across West Dunbartonshire, including those who are shielding, pregnant, over 70 or have an existing health condition.

She said: “The majority require ongoing support with a range of tasks on a weekly basis. This includes assisting with shopping, collecting prescriptions, befriending, taking bins out and dog walking.

“I think that the befriending element is particularly important during a time like this as being able to speak to someone helps to reassure people, benefits their mental health and prevents social isolation.

“It has also enabled me to build trusting relationships with the people that I am supporting. The appreciation they have for the support I provide is very rewarding and I am just happy to be able to help vulnerable people during this uncertain time.”

Peter Anderson, 63, is a Clerk of Works in Clydebank. During this challenging time, he is volunteering from home by telephoning our most vulnerable residents who are on the government’s shielding list.

He said: “I am given a list of people and call them one by one, to check in with them, offer help if they need it, check they are doing okay, have enough food and supplies, are getting the appropriate support or if they have specific needs or requests I can refer to the appropriate service.

“Every little bit does help. I hope by receiving a call, the person on the end of the phone feels reassured that they can access support if they need it, and that is incredibly important when things are so uncertain for everyone.

“I would encourage anybody who is able to volunteer their time. It is such a nice feeling knowing you are doing your bit to help those who are struggling throughout this.”

Leanne Rea, who works in OD & Change, has moved back to her previous role in the Council’ s contact centre to help assist residents with queries over the phone.

She said: “I’ve enjoyed providing practical assistance to the residents who have found themselves in challenging situations or even just need a wee chat as they are feeling lonely. I felt I wanted to do more so on top of this, I have put myself forward to volunteer with the care service.

“I have some spare time and I know how hard all the key workers are working to ensure vulnerable people are being looked after and aren’t feeling too isolated so I’m hoping when I’m called upon to help that I can help ease their workload a little and help the residents with whatever is required to bring a little happiness to their days.”

Councillor Ian Dickson, Convener of Corporate Services, said: “I am delighted to see so many of our employees volunteering their time to help the response to Covid19 and I want to thank each and every one of them for their commitment and dedication. These volunteers, alongside the employees who are continuing in their own roles, are making a difference to residents’ everyday lives, and playing a vital part in ensuring our essential services can continue to be delivered.

“This hard work is extremely valued and if any other employee feels they could offer assistance in a voluntary role, I would encourage them to get in touch.”


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