Blog Posts

Voluntary Action South Ayrshire – Covid 19 Update

COVID-19 Update, General Information

As the situation regarding the current crisis continues there have been a number of changes and updates to organisations and the support they are providing.
Below is a wealth of information and resources which you may find.

Community Pharmacy Update
 As Scotland responds to the COVID-19 pandemic, community pharmacies in NHS Ayrshire & Arran are working tirelessly to ensure that everyone’s medicines and healthcare needs will be met over the coming days and weeks. Community pharmacy teams are a critical part of NHS Scotland, working on the front line in our local community. Over the past few weeks, community pharmacies have seen demand for over-the-counter (OTC) medicines, other products, advice and reassurance soar.
To help support community pharmacies, we are asking patients and members of the public to follow some simple steps:

  •          Avoid pharmacies if you are showing symptoms of COVID-19. If you have a new persistent cough and/or a high temperature or shortness of breath please avoid entering your local pharmacy as you would any other healthcare setting.
  •          Be patient and be kind. All pharmacies are under immense pressure and working around the clock to ensure that you get what you need. Community pharmacies have a zero tolerance position in respect of verbal and physical abuse towards their staff at this difficult time. Queuing systems and restricting access to community pharmacies are in place to ensure both staff and patients using the community pharmacy remain safe and have two-metre physical distancing in place to prevent the transmission of COVID-19.
  •          Order medicines as normal. There is no need to stockpile medicines. Ordering extra prescriptions and buying more OTC medicines than you need causes unnecessary disruption to the medicines supply chain.
  •          If you have ordered medicines over the past few weeks, please remember to collect them from your community pharmacy. We are aware of large volumes of uncollected prescriptions awaiting uplift from community pharmacies.

Pharmacies will remain open wherever possible. You may notice that some are now having to reduce the hours during which they can admit members of the public. This is to ensure that community pharmacy teams can carry out tasks such as preparing medicines, restocking shelves and cleaning, so that community pharmacy services can continue safely.
Most pharmacies can be contacted by phone and email, and many have their own websites and social media channels. Please use these methods to contact your local community pharmacy if you are displaying the symptoms of COVID-19, and need pharmacy advice or support.
National and Local Support for Communities
National Assistance Helpline – The Scottish Government has established a National Assistance Helpline for people who are:

  •          disabled
  •          receiving mental health support
  •          have dementia
  •          over 70 years old
  •          pregnant
  •          received the flu vaccine for health reasons

The helpline is dedicated to helping those who cannot leave their home and who cannot get help online. The number is 0800 111 4000 and the line is open Monday – Friday 9am – 5pm.
Bereavement Support
Please see below National bereavement support charities for support to your staff and service user/residents family members.

and Ayrshire Cancer Support on 01563 538008

and  Scotland’s first Bereavement Charter for Children and Adults Bereavement Charter

The outbreak of COVID-19 means that many aspects of children’s normal routines have been significantly and abruptly changed. Most children are spending all their time at home with their immediate family and are not able to have physical contact with their wider family, friends or teachers.  This will be an anxious time for many children – they may have questions about how COVID-19 may affect them or other members of their family. It is important to give the time to listen and talk to your child about any concerns they have. 

The following link provides support information Supporting children and young people to cope with loss and bereavement
South Ayrshire Carers Centre
The South Ayrshire Carers Centre head office in Ayr is closed and all carer support groups have been suspended until further notice. Support is being provided for all unpaid carers including young carers via telephone and social media. For further information please call 07919004480, email or visit the Facebook page at

National Advice for Unpaid Carers
For the latest national advice for unpaid carers please visit and

NHS 24 (111)
Breathing Space (0800 83 85 87)
Samaritans (116 123) 
Clear your Head and Feel Better
 A campaign is underway to help people cope during the COVID-19 pandemic. ‘Clear Your Head’ highlights the practical things people can do to help them feel better whilst staying at home, acknowledging these are worrying and uncertain times for many.
The campaign website – – offers tips on how people can look after themselves if they feel things getting on top of them. This includes things like keeping to a routine, staying active within the current guidelines, making time to do the things you enjoy, and keeping in touch with people. The website also points to sources of advice including NHS Inform, and helplines including NHS24, Breathing Space, SAMH and the Samaritans – encouraging people to reach out if they need help.
Chest, Heart and Stroke Scotland Support
Support from CHSS can be accessed by calling 0808 801 0899 or visit
Resources for Gypsy/Traveller carers, supported people and communities during COVID – 19
MECOPP has produced a series of short film clips to raise awareness of the different types of financial help available during the pandemic.  For example, changes to the welfare benefits system, Government grants and loans, help with food and bills and other forms of help such as food banks and hardship funds.  The films can also be found on a dedicated Facebook page set up to support the community.

Information for People with Dementia, their Carers and Families
 Alzheimer’s Scotland have created a suite of information resources for people with dementia, their carers and families throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes information on activities, support for families and what to do if they have to go into hospital during this time. This is being updated on a regular basis as the situation progresses, so please check back to see the most up-to-date information. For more information, please click the following link:

A new campaign is underway to encourage people to seek medical help for health issues which are not related to COVID-19. Figures indicate patients are delaying going to the GP surgery or Accident & Emergency during the pandemic, that there has been a drop in urgent suspected cancer referrals, and a reduction in families bringing children for immunisation.  

PPE for Unpaid Carers
 A process has been established for unpaid carers (including young carers) to access PPE where appropriate. South Ayrshire Lifeline are supporting the model as the single point of contact (0800 432 0510). South Ayrshire Lifeline has been given a limited stock of PPE which we can deliver out to carers.  This will be a week’s supply which can then be repeated.
The process is set out in the diagram below:

A video has been produced to demonstrate how to put on and remove PPE which may be of use to unpaid carers:

Police Scotland – Human Trafficking and Exploitation
 Across the world many countries are in the midst of the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic. The purpose of this Police Scotland circulation is to work together to protect and safeguard the vulnerable and those most at risk of human trafficking and exploitation.
Police Scotland National Human Trafficking Unit continue their ongoing engagement with key partners to ensure they are actively looking for and responding effectively to any incident or report of Human Trafficking or exploitation. They recognise that communities can provide valuable information which can assist them in this regard.
Scottish Government

Online Support/Guidance documents

Thy Kingdom Come: 21 – 31 May 2020

Dear Friends,

Thy Kingdom Come: 21 – 31 May 2020 (Ascension to Pentecost Sunday)

With so much of the world “on hold”, it would be easy to think that the prayer initiative: Thy Kingdom Come is another casualty. Not at all! If there is one thing that is needed at this time, alongside the care we can offer, it is united global prayer. Physical distancing has actually brought us closer together as we recognise our common humanity and the challenges we must face together.

The Church of Scotland is delighted to be part of Thy Kingdom Come in 2020, while recognising that it needs to take a new approach because of COVID-19. In the light of this, the Thy Kingdom Come website has been updated and adapted for our new situation:

One of the Key themes for Thy Kingdom Come 2020 is prayer and care. As we are praying for those we love to come to know the hope and love of Christ, we are also encouraging all to see how they can show God’s love towards them, by caring for them. The website suggests practical ways this can be done:

Alongside this, there is a very helpful resource “Thy Kingdom Come – five ways to get involved” which is easily adapted for congregations in lockdown. Resources can be shared with members for download and print at home:

Whether you use the Family Prayer Adventure Map or the 11 day Prayer Journal, the same creativity congregations have employed to set up online worship and find new ways for undertaking pastoral care can equally be employed to stimulate united prayer. You can pray together at set times or set up a continuous virtual prayer event and there is a wealth of practical, accessible ideas for all.

Let us join together with Christians across the country and around the world for Thy Kingdom Come 2020.

Wishing you every blessing,

Rt Revd Colin A M Sinclair


General Assembly of the Church of Scotland

Christ in Action Food Bank SCO45322 – Update during Covid-19

Our first challenge as lockdown descended on us was the age range of our volunteers. It was so very hard for our committed individuals to follow government instructions and trust that a way would be found to keep the work going. The second was to make the food storage areas safe places for volunteers to work. Replacement volunteers got in touch when they were unable to work, from St James Church and Monkton and Prestwick and we set to make food store safe and continue to support those in need. South Ayrshire Council have been in touch with us right from the start of lockdown enquiring if we needed volunteers and offering food.

We have established a second store at St James Church to continue our support but minimise contact, at Newton Primary School (which has remained open). The School staff can gain easy access to hall for ambient food items. We have, thanks to Grant’s of Prestwick delivery, been supplying fresh milk, eggs and fresh fruit and veg and the Tattie Shed near Troon has supplied sacks of tatties. During week commencing 20th April the school provided 355 lunches, 131 food parcels including 18 for Heathfield school and 5 for members of the community. We are so happy to be part of the team of agencies assisting in this area of need in our community. We have continued to support the homeless hostels in Ayr and Troon supplying almost the same items as usual. Demand has dropped as I write this, to average 8 per week.

Please pray for wisdom for the Trustees as we go forward into this new world balancing the safety of our volunteers and the desire to help those in need.

Donations are still urgently needed, and can be either dropped off at a specific address or picked up from your home, which ever is the easiest for you. Just contact us using the following email: – a mutually convenient time will be then be arranged.


Presbytery of Ayr Alternative Gift Scheme:

We are delighted with the response to the alternative gift scheme this year. You will remember the two gifts on offer were much needed seeds and fertiliser and solar lamps. The money for seeds and fertiliser will be sent to Malawi and distributed locally by the Presbyteries in Limphasa and Bandawe while the solar lamps will be delivered by the group from Ayrshire who will be visiting Malawi in May of this year. So far we have enough to send 559 packs of seeds and fertiliser and 250 solar lamps and we still look forward to adding to this total.

Many, many thanks to everyone who has publicised this scheme and who has contributed.