I Am Me
18/09/2020 (Volunteer Post )
For this week’s blog we’re handing over to I Am Me, a national charity that was developed in Renfrewshire and has grown to great success across the country. I Am Me was born from a desire to tackle rising levels of disability hate crime and descrimination, and works to create safe environments, both physical and digitally now, for all. We’re hearing from Molly, Project Development Officer as she explains their current programme and how work has changed and developed due to COVID-19.
Hi, my name is Molly and I am the Project Development Officer for I Am Me Scotland. My role involves co-ordinating the Keep Safe initiative and the Keep Safe Ambassador programme. Although we have not been able to run our ambassador programme recently, things have been busy at I Am Me as the team have changed normal practices to respond to the ‘new normal’. Here is a short overview of some of the work that has been happening at I Am Me Scotland…
Keep Safe is a national initiative that aims to create safe places for disabled or vulnerable people to use to seek assistance, if required, while out in the community. These can be any shop or business that meets the essential criteria (two members of staff present at all times). Premises are approved by Police Scotland and receive free Keep Safe training. There are currently over 800 Keep Safe places across Scotland – check them out on the free “Keep Safe Scotland” App and keep a look out for the sticker in the windows of participating businesses.
Keep Safe Lanyards
The team are now providing Face Mask Exemption lanyards to those who are exempt from wearing a face covering due do a disability or health condition. This is to support individuals in maintaining an active community life free from harassment or abuse. The lanyards come with an attachment for a Keep Safe card and are available to purchase for £3 on the I Am Me Scotland website – https://iammescotland.co.uk/
Keep Safe Card
The Keep Safe card is provided for free and details important information such as a person’s name, health condition or disability, communication requirements and emergency contact details. They also include a section for ‘any other helpful information’. This is often used to detail a regular taxi company or bus route and can be particularly helpful for individuals with Alzheimer’s or dementia. To request a Keep Safe card, email the team at email@example.com
Over recent months the I Am Me team have distributed over 10,000 Keep Safe cards across Renfrewshire and have worked with Police Scotland to make these available to other local authority areas across Scotland.
I Am Me are now providing Keep Safe training for new businesses virtually and have also developed an exciting eLearning Keep Safe course. This course has been developed for new staff members at Keep Safe places and will teach them everything they need to know to confidently provide Keep Safe assistance. The course can also be used by individuals who are looking to get a ‘refresher’ on Keep Safe and have a better understanding about what the initiative entails. It takes approximately 15 minutes to complete. If you are interested in accessing this course, please get in touch with the team at firstname.lastname@example.org to register your interest.
Keep Safe Care Boxes
The I Am Me Team have also recently worked on a lovely project, funded by Foundation Scotland and the Corra Foundation in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Personalised care boxes have been put together for residents of care homes and sheltered housing complexes across Renfrewshire. Residents were nominated by staff members from the care homes, who also provided a list of the individuals passions/interests. I Am Me used this information to purchase gifts suited to each individual that would make them smile and added that extra detail of personalisation. Gifts included personalised sewing materials, notebooks, clothes, jigsaws, art materials and much more.
The funding also enabled smart tablets to be provided to the residents. These have been used to keep in touch with family members and friends through video calls and online chats. Due to current circumstances and visitor restrictions many people are struggling with being separated from loved ones and have been very grateful to receive these gifts. Below are some lovely pictures from the care box deliveries. Additional funding was also kindly donated by Johnstone Community Council to provide Keep Safe boxes to residents at Walkinshaw.
To find out more about I Am Me Scotland head to their website: https://iammescotland.co.uk/