Buddies win Community Champion Award

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East Renfrewshire Health and Social Care Partnership (HSCP) has been commended at the prestigious Learning Disability Awards.

The HSCP ‘Shopping Buddies’ project, which started in Barrhead, won in the ‘Community Champion’ category. The team and the volunteers behind Shopping Buddies were recognised at an awards ceremony held in Edinburgh last month .

The Learning Disability Awards are run by the Scottish Commission for Learning Disability and provide an opportunity to celebrate, on a national level, the rarely heard stories and achievements of people with learning disabilities and those who support them.

Shopping buddies was developed by East Renfrewshire HSCP to help older people in the community with their shopping, and to give younger people with learning disabilities the opportunity to learn new skills and work in their own communities.

It started with one service user and volunteer, taking place once a week and has since grown to provide support with shopping for more than 20 people, five days a week, across the authority.

The volunteers at Shopping Buddies meet with service users, take their orders over the telephone, do the shopping, and then deliver it and put it away in the homes of local people.

The group also works in partnership with local Red Cross to help support people in returning home from hospital.

Councillor Caroline Bamforth, chair of the East Renfrewshire Integration Joint Board (IJB) said: “I am absolutely delighted that Shopping Buddies has been recognised nationally at the Scottish Learning Disability Awards.

“The project is valued both by the service users who get help with their shopping and friendship, and by the volunteers who get to learn new skills and gain confidence.

“The project has helped build relationships between two generations, which may not have happened naturally in the community.

“I am proud of the team who have helped deliver such a successful project, but most of all of the volunteers who support some of the most vulnerable members of our community with this incredible service. Congratulations to everyone.”

The ‘Community Champion’ award was sponsored by the Scottish Community Development Centre.