This month, the Eric Liddell Centre’s highly praised Caring Soles project celebrates its first full year of operation. The service, which has twice been commended in motions at the Scottish Parliament, aims to tackle social isolation among the elderly by providing basic personal footcare treatment.
The service has been further bolstered with a funding award of £24,000 from the Weir Charitable Trust which has allowed a new and additional satellite hub in Wester Hailes as the care charity looks to improve lives across the capital.
With guidance from NHS Lothian Podiatry, training in basic footcare is given to Caring Soles volunteers and they are supported by the Eric Liddell Centre to deliver the service. Caring Soles provides low cost volunteer-led basic footcare to people who struggle to maintain this independently. There is also a huge social engagement factor to delivering this service in the community, with service users & volunteers enjoying important social contact during appointments which makes an impact on social isolation and loneliness.
Since launching last year, the service, initially based in the south of Edinburgh, has spread across the city. This has happened following the development of satellite hubs in Restalrig at the Ripple Project and in Gorgie/Dalry at St Martin’s Community Resource Centre. The service is entirely led by volunteers who are trained by podiatry professionals from NHS Lothian. The addition of Wester Hailes completes an exciting first year for Caring Soles.
Eric Liddell Centre CEO, John MacMillan said:
“We are absolutely over the moon that the Caring Soles service has been so well received in its first year. We are especially proud of feedback which notes the impact the project is having on social isolation and loneliness among elderly residents.
“With the amazing support of the Weir Charitable Trust, we will be able to deliver this service to the community of Wester Hailes.
“Following recommendations from the Jo Cox Commission on Loneliness, we hope that the work carried out by this project will contribute to help bring people in our communities together.”
Lorraine Tait, Trust Manager for the Weir Charitable Trust said:
“We are delighted to support this fantastic initiative. There are many parts of society, especially as you grow older who become isolated and alone. To have contact with a volunteer from Caring Soles on a regular basis can make all the difference. The podiatry treatments make them more comfortable whilst giving vital social interaction – this is a unique community group which we are proud to support’.”