VolunteerNet - a flexible way to help carers

VolunteerNet is a project which offers a flexible support for carers from fully trained and checked volunteers.

Volunteers don't need to give time regularly, just whenever they can fit it in. Help can include spending time with the carer and the person they care for, help with shopping, gardening, and collecting prescriptions.

Backed by the City of Edinburgh Council and the Volunteer Centre Edinburgh, VolunteerNet is aimed at those who can give up their time for a couple of hours a week and people are now being encouraged to sign up to the scheme.

Mum Catriona used the online service to find a volunteer to help take her daughter, Rebecca, on trips out, and she was so impressed with the service that she wanted to share her story.

Catriona said: "I have been using the services of VolunteerNet for nearly two months. I am the mother and main carer of our 31 year old daughter who lives at home with me, my husband and her two younger brothers.

"She has physical and learning difficulties, but is always ready for challenges and loves meeting and going out with people. She enjoys being active, as long as someone she trusts is nearby to give her support when needed.

"I joined VolunteerNet because my daughter enjoys meeting new people who she can befriend and go on outings with. This gives her a sense of independence from us, which is naturally good for her (and us!) and, indeed, going out with a ‘friend’ provides a sense of normality for her. This is something that many people without additional support needs understandably take for granted. 

"I use VolunteerNet from my computer to select a volunteer on  a one to one basis to enjoy an activity with my daughter, allowing me to have time for myself or with other members of the family while my daughter is enjoying herself with the volunteer.

"I have found VolunteerNet to be an excellent project. The volunteer who has accompanied our daughter on outings to swimming and bowling on two occasions has been outstanding in every way and is a great match for our daughter. Clearly she has been through a comprehensive training programme with VolunteerNet, and because I know that all the volunteers are fully trained, checked and supported, I feel confident asking for their help. The flexibility of booking online is great.

"VolunteerNet has provided an extra dimension to our daughter’s life and consequently a huge difference to ours.  She regards the volunteer as a new friend and this gives her great happiness."

For more information, please log on to http://www.volunteernetedinburgh.org.uk or call Social Care Direct on 0131 200 2336 – for carers, or 0131 225 0630 – for volunteers.

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