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Volunteers in Aberdeen answer call to help north-east’s most vulnerable to virus

Edoardo Bedin UKCN Area Manager for Aberdeen.
Edoardo Bedin UKCN Area Manager for Aberdeen.

An Aberdeen man has been volunteering his time to lead efforts to support shielded north-east residents after being furloughed.

Edoardo Bedin, 33, a visitor services supervisor at Haddo House, has felt the effects of the pandemic like many across the UK.

After being furloughed from his role at the National Trust for Scotland in April, Mr Bedin said it “didn’t feel right” to sit at home while getting paid, but not giving back to the community.

He got in touch with the UK Community Network, an organisation formed to connect the shielding elderly and those with severe underlying health conditions who need support during the outbreak with volunteers in their area.

Mr Bedin said: “After a week at home I knew I wanted to do something that would involve the community and supporting people.

“I remember I was walking down the street and I was in my local shop when I saw a poster promoting the Community Network and I got in touch with them.”

The Westburn resident said his tasks include running errands for those people assigned in Aberdeen, doing their food shopping and picking up and delivering prescriptions.

As the area manager for the Aberdeen volunteers, Mr Bedin also recruits volunteers who are able to get to the most vulnerable in the community.

Currently there are 12 active volunteers assigned to 12 people using the service, with eight more volunteers on standby.

Mr Bedin said: “I know there are so many people we haven’t been able to reach who need our support.

“I’ve helped someone who can hardly move or answer their door. It would be nearly impossible for them to do these things on their own right now.

“What we’re doing really improves their quality of life and you get to know a lot of people.”

He is now focusing on piloting a social scheme offering online pub quizzes and raising money so volunteers have access to emergency food shopping funds when a request comes in from someone.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced on Monday that shielding will continue until at least July 31, and Mr Bedin recognises the importance of socialising for people in this category.

He added: “We’re hoping to bring people together in this way in order to create some sort of social life.”

To volunteer or to ask for support, sign up at www.ukcommunitynetwork.com.

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