Describe your project
Dochas is Gaelic for hope and the Dochas Fund, recognised charity SC029821 opened its Centre in 2006 to meet the needs of unpaid carers across Mid-Argyll, Kintyre and the islands of Islay, Jura and Gigha (MAKI). We provide information and emotional support as well as a range of other services, activities and events. We work closely with Statutory and other local agencies and we support carers by helping them navigate the maze of services available locally. We are building an extension which is urgently needed, to meet the growing needs of more carers. Carers can be 5 to 95 years old and privacy and confidentiality will be provided by the extension as well as office space for staff to develop more.
How will your project benefit your local community?
MAKI is the largest of the 4 administrative areas covering 42% of Argyll and Bute. With over 1,000 square miles of land and sea, much of this area is sparsely populated. Our best solution for carers was to appoint local staff thus saving travel and time costs and crucially, having local knowledge and expertise. Family or friends do not identify themselves as carers but as people who love the person who needs help to continue to live at home. They arrange appointments; hospital visits; shop and undertake tasks as needed. Carers’ health and wellbeing are affected as the responsibility of caring increases. Dochas offers the support and information needed to ease their load. Records show MAKI’s population is 20,533 of which 3,038 are carers. Support offered to carers also eases the load of the person being cared for. Sadly because of shortage of respite provision, we are happy for both carer and cared-for person to come together to share our activities and events. These are held locally and relationships between carer and cared-for benefit enormously as they share some fun-time and have something non-medical to talk about at home
Please give details of any support you have from your local community
NHS and Social Services staff around MAKI, refers carers to Dochas for help and support – we have found numbers are increasing year-on-year. Our services to carers are given free of charge. Being a rural and remote area, word of mouth is the best recommendation to carers who don’t know about us. Donations are raised for building the extension, but we need to raise the money to floor, furnish and equip it. Carers are excited by the prospect of Counselling and Meeting rooms, and staff look forward to Office space for developing new services.
How big is your community? And how many people will benefit from your project?
We know from the National Records of Scotland that in MAKI, there is a population of 20,533 and of these, 3,038 are carers. We support around 200 carers per annum who visit or phone regularly. More space will mean we can reach more and expand our services.
Tell us what you intend to spend the money on.
The company who laid the non-slip flooring in the Centre 12 years ago, has quoted £5,346, including VAT, to relay the Dochas Centre floor and cover the floor in the new Extension. We are confident the £346 shortfall will be raised by our Buy a Brick Appeal being launched through articles in the 3 MAKI local papers on May 23rd. The flooring is ‘hospital’ quality because many users of our Centre are elderly or frail. The flooring must be the safest we can buy. Although very beautiful, MAKI is mainly coastal and the weather is milder but wetter than the rest of the UK. Replacing the flooring in the Centre is vital due to the changes we have, and will make. The footfall per week over the last 12 years has left marks, scratches and some patches removed to convert a boiler room into an office. As entry to the Extension is through the Centre, we wish the flooring to be seamless and look good for everyone.
When and why was your project founded?
The Dochas Fund was launched on February 28th, 1998 to bring hope to families and support research into both Guillian Barre Syndrome and Motor Neurone Disease; 2 incurable neurological conditions. We became a recognised charity 4 years later by which time, we were giving greater emphasis to carers.