Joanna & Andy – Caring Soles

Joanna and her grandfather, Andy visit the ELC cafe with Poppy the labradoodle.

You may recognise the volunteer in these images as the volunteer featured in our emergency fundraising appeal literature. Joanne has been a volunteer with the Caring Soles service since Summer 2018 and has recently introduced here grandfather, Andy, to the service. She has seen his confidence in getting out-&-about grow more since he became a service user. We spoke with them both:

What does being a CS volunteer mean to you?

“Being a volunteer means that I can meet lots of different people and help them with their wellbeing on their feet.  I love these interactions with new people and I feel like I have a sense of purpose as I am the one helping them.  A lot of people do not realise the importance of general good footcare and how it can affect your confidence and hold you back.”

Are you planning to use the skills you have gained in the future?

“I am using the skills and experience from volunteering with Caring Soles to pursue a career in podiatry.  The experience I am gaining with all types of feet and all types of people is invaluable.  I am applying to go to university for next year, however, intend to continue with my volunteering during studies as I enjoy it so much!  I am currently studying at college and volunteer with Caring Soles twice a month.”

Do you see a difference in your confidence as a result of volunteering?

“Yes.  I have confidence in my ability to help people feel better and enjoy being part of this.”

Joanna, Andy and Poppy in our Caring Soles treatment room.

Andy, how has Caring Soles improved your wellbeing? 

“My feet are much more comfortable.  It has made a difference getting them cut regularly and I can feel this when walking.”

Do you see a difference in your confidence as a result of being a CS service user?

“Yes.  I feel lighter on my feet.  When my toenails are long it is uncomfortable and to attend a Caring Soles footcare appointment regularly is important for me.”

Are there any new activities that you have taken up as a result of using CS?

“I can walk further now on dog walks with Poppy my daughter’s 8yr old ‘golden-doodle’ as my feet feel more comfortable.  When at the exercise class  I attend every Monday afternoon in Craiglockhart I can put more effort in as my feet feel better and steadier.  The classes are quite hard (focusing on strength and balance) so my feet need to be comfortable to concentrate, and I feel Caring Soles footcare is helping me to keep my feet in good condition.”

What has been the highlight of using this service?

“The café in the Eric Liddell Centre makes really good coffee, and I always have one before my appointment.  I enjoy meeting all of the very nice volunteers, they give very good advice and I feel in safe hands.  I love being out-&-about with Poppy the dog and Caring Soles makes this possible.  Long may it last.”

Andy walks Poppy the dog every day and this became one of several activities he took up when moving from Glasgow a year ago to be closer to family in Edinburgh.  A popular walk for Andy & Poppy is along the canal from Polwarth to Meggatland and back via Tollcross enjoying the barges and wildlife.

Andy and Joanna outside the Eric Liddell Centre with Lisa Jennings, the Caring Soles Project Co-Ordinator.