LOCAL heroes who provide essential help for vulnerable members of society are looking for more people to use their services and to get involved with their growing workload.
Ceartas, which means ‘fairness’ in Gaelic, was set up in 2004 after breaking away from national charity Alzheimers Scotland.
From relatively humble beginnings they now employ 10 members of staff who work alongside 12 volunteers, as well as trustees and directors, to deliver a range of free services in East Dunbartonshire.
Their four advocacy workers provide information and can step in to represent people’s interests when they have trouble doing so themselves.
This can be for a number of reasons and a range of situations – from the doctor’s surgery to housing and benefits issues.
Advocacy worker Susie Martin said: “People have nothing to lose by coming to us. They can be reassured that all calls will be treated with complete confidence.
“Sometimes we can give a different perspective to a problem or simply give them information to help.”
Key groups who are represented include the elderly and those with communication difficulties, sensory impairment, learning or physical disabilities, as well as people with dementia, acquired brain injuries and mental health issues.
Help is just a call away, where a one-to-one appointment can be set up, and Ceartas also organise a number of groups – which are growing in popularity.
Chief Executive Gordon Thomson said: “The groups are a way to reach out to more people. Some people wait until they are in the middle of a crisis before seeking help so this is a more pro-active way to get them involved.
“It is not about throwing services at people, but getting information to them – for instance when they are going through a diagnosis or change of life.
“Older people might think they may need to go into care, but we can tell them about all the options and support them. Sometimes it can be good to have somebody to talk to who isn’t emotionally involved.”
The groups currently run by Ceartas, supported by their partner agencies, include the De Cafe, for those affected by dementia, which meets on the last Friday of the month from 1.30pm-3.00pm at Kirkintilloch Baptist Church.
Still Game, an informal meeting place for members, takes place on the first Tuesday of every month, while Ceartas’s ABI cafe, for those with Acquired Brain Injuries, meets on the first Thursday of the month – both at Kirkintilloch Baptist Church.
The charity also has a weekly Dementia Advisory Clinic every Tuesday at 2pm at Kirkintilloch Health and Care Centre.
Volunteers are always welcome and you can show your support by becoming a member or making a donation through their website at www.ceartas.org.uk
For more information about help available, or to volunteer, call Pam Thomson on 0141 775 0433.