The charity is funded by the council to support lonely and socially isolated people reconnect with their community. As part of a range of actions, the Red Cross launched a weekly show on local radio station Black Diamond FM as a way to continue their outreach during the pandemic.
Normally Red Cross staff and volunteers meet in person with clients to help them to link up with groups, clubs and activities of interest but Covid restrictions meant that that kind of in-person support was impossible.
Their radio show - A.I.M (Activities, Information and Motivation) - featured issues such as vaccinations, caring responsibilities or staying fit and healthy during lockdown. The one hour programme also broadcasted music, poems and short stories.
Chris Maguire, the British Red Cross local area coordinator who launched the show, said: “After Covid hit we were initially overwhelmed with requests to help out with shopping support, collecting prescriptions, etc.
“Once the initial response was over we had to look at ways of adapting our role in providing support to people who were struggling with loneliness and Isolation even more due to lockdown.
“Since we couldn't meet people in person we had to look at ways that we could bring support to people. That is when we came up with the idea for a radio show, but not just a radio show, we produced activity packs alongside the radio show.”
One of the listeners was 77-year-old Joan from Midlothian who lives alone. She was greatly impressed by the quality of the show which she said had kept her spirits up during the lockdown when she wasn’t able to meet with friends.
Joan said: “The Red Cross programme was lovely to listen to. It was a constant in your life. It was cheerful. Especially with Covid, we haven't had visitors so that show was almost like a visitor and it was very informative. I was thinking I'll have to phone up the health service to hear when the flu jags are in but on the first show they had a doctor who happened to be from my surgery, which made it even more personal.”