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Over the past few weeks we have been busy organising gift bags for all unpaid carers registered with our carers support service.

We initially secured £2,000 from the Corra Foundation, who were distributing funds from the Community Wellbeing Fund. This enabled us to purchase gift bags for young carers and members of our sibling and lego groups. These contained items such as lego sets, a journal diary, a printing press and makeup sets. The remainder of the funds was used to purchase gift bags for parent carers of someone under 18 years with Additional Support Needs.

We were able to purchase gift bags for all other carers registered with our service when funding was secured from Scottish Government Supporting Communities Fund. Many of these were funded by local anchor organisations.

For delivery of the 269 gift bags, we used a collaborative approach utilising our own volunteers as well as third sector partners : local anchor organisations, RVS and British Red Cross. VAS Carers Support Service are grateful to the all funders for supporting the gift bags and for all volunteers and staff who helped with deliveries right across the isles from Unst to Virkie.


Third Sector organisations who have been involved in delivering gift bags to carers across the isles : Moira Bell of RVS, Kirsten Harcus form VAS Carers Support Service, Ann Skwara and Nicola Stove, both British Red Cross.

VAS Carers Support Worker, Kirsten Harcus, said ‘’ We know things have been hard for carers with support networks reduced and many services suspended. We thought the gift bags would be something nice that would encourage carers to take a bit of time out for themselves at home. The gift bags contain a gift voucher from a range of local shops as well as some colouring and puzzle activities, some practical and pampering items. ‘’

Gillian Bain, whose gift bag was delivered by RVS recently said ‘’Thank you so much for my care package you kindly delivered to me, it was so lovely and much appreciated. It’s good to know others are thinking of you at this difficult time.’’

Gillian Bain with her gift bag.

Catherine Hughson, VAS Executive Officer, said ''It is so important that we recognise and continue to support the unpaid carers in our community not only during this difficult challenging time but going forward into the future.''

VAS Carers Support Service want to empower carers to manage their caring role and have a life alongside caring. You can find more information or refer to their service through their website, by telephone 01595 743 980 or by email at [email protected] They also have a Shetland Carers Facebook page.

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