A CUMNOCK community volunteer has been working to improve the mental health of young locals during lockdown.

Natalie Carmichael runs a mindfulness group for children and adults based out of the Barrhill Community Centre and works with 10 volunteers to do shopping and prescription runs for vulnerable people.

Natalie said: “My mindfulness class has switched to online so we have a Zoom call every two weeks to ensure people are receiving support.

“The mindfulness group is all donation based but we got funding recently for activity packs which are going to kids at Hillside, the mindfulness group and SCAMPS.

“The rest will be distributed in the local area where we’re seeing that vulnerability - where people are struggling emotionally.

“It’s to teach kids about mindfulness and gratitude and to give them tools to cope with negative emotions.”

Natalie is now thinking of ways to reach the elderly.

Natalie said: “Maybe a community interest company would be useful. People appreciate food deliveries but some are proud and want to cook themselves. There must be a way of teaching people how to cook on a budget.

“My concern is that, not only are people going to be left with mental health issues after this, but I’m finding that there’s already an existing issue of social isolation.”

Joyce Gavin, volunteer, said: “I’m healthy so I don’t see why I shouldn’t be helping out. It’s been an eye-opener seeing poverty locally. There’s a definite need for more assistance.”


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