Evelyn’s team steps up to help homeless

Evelyn Weir led a team of student podiatrists from QMU
Evelyn Weir led a team of student podiatrists from QMU
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A team of podiatrists from Queen Margaret University gave up time on Christmas Day and Boxing Day to look after the foot health of homeless people in Edinburgh.

Podiatry lecturer and lead podiatry volunteer for the charity Crisis, Evelyn Weir, along with 12 Queen Margaret University podiatry students, ran a specialist foot clinic for people who live on the streets of the Capital.

The Queen Margaret University podiatrists volunteered with the Crisis at Christmas project, run by the charity, which helps single homeless people.

The project also provides companionship and support to tackle loneliness and isolation, and helps people take their first steps out of homelessness.

The project ran for the first time in Edinburgh in 2013 on Christmas Day. It was such a great success, with incredible support from a wide range of volunteers, the event has continued to expand each year.

As well as offering some much needed foot care over the winter period, the 12-hour long Christmas Day and Boxing Day events offered homeless people services such as hairdressing and massage, as well as providing breakfast, a hot Christmas meal, and supper on each day.

Evelyn Weir, leader of the podiatry programme at QMU, has spent the last 25 years volunteering with homeless charities and is delighted that a team of enthusiastic y podiatry students again supported the Crisis event.

She said: “Many people who are homeless tend to walk for miles each day in all kinds of weather. However, they often don’t have access to foot health care or good quality footwear, and probably don’t have a change of shoes. All of these issues combined with the fact that they may stand around on hard pavements in the cold and damp, and have nowhere to store dry shoes and socks, can lead to significant foot problems.”

Evelyn, and her student team from the BSc (Hons) Podiatry course, provided a podiatry service for between 60 homeless people of all ages and both men and women on both days. It included relaxing foot baths, general foot care treatments and advice, and the supply of new warm socks.

Evelyn, who lives in East Lothian, said: “I am thrilled that students volunteered again to support this important project on Christmas Day and Boxing Day, and I’m also overwhelmed by the generosity of our sponsors, including senior management at Queen Margaret University. We were well equipped with essential medical supplies and instruments and suppled people with plenty of new winter socks.

“The project was also an excellent opportunity for our students to develop their clinical and interpersonal skills whilst making a positive contribution to the community. Using your specialist skills to benefit others seems to make Christmas more meaningful.”