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Caithness care bear brings smiles across the county


By David G Scott

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A SPECIAL gift from a caring Caithness bear brought cheer to a Wick resident confined inside during the sunny weather.

Peter Storm was delighted to get a box of sweet treats delivered straight to his door in Henrietta Street on Thursday afternoon.

The Community Integrated Care bear had 10 deliveries to make to her clients across Caithness this week.Pictures: DGS
The Community Integrated Care bear had 10 deliveries to make to her clients across Caithness this week.Pictures: DGS

Peter, who has learning disabilities and is on the autistic spectrum, is a service user with Community Integrated Care – one of the UK's largest health and social care charities.

Together with nine other clients across the county, Peter received a nicely wrapped box of confectionery which he was happy to share with the Community Integrated Care staff helping support him.

This teddy bear had a little 'inside help' from care worker Wendy McLeod for making a special delivery.
This teddy bear had a little 'inside help' from care worker Wendy McLeod for making a special delivery.

Sarah Sinclair, Community Integrated Care service leader for the Caithness area, said: "At present in Caithness we support 10 individuals within their own homes and at present we employ 41 staff.

"Many of the people we support have transitioned from institutions such as Forse House and Grant Street into supported living."

Peter gets the box of confectionery delivered straight to his door on Henrietta Street.
Peter gets the box of confectionery delivered straight to his door on Henrietta Street.

Sarah said that the clients supported have "large care packages" with many requiring 24-hour, one-to-one support. Most of this work is commissioned by the NHS, she added.

"Evidently, the lives of the people we support have been transformed during the pandemic – as many of them don't have the capacity to understand what is happening.

"They haven't been able to continue their community involvement, vocational options, or have contact with their families and peers."

Peter is delighted to receive a gift from the caring bear and he shared the sweets with Community Integrated Care staff helping look after his needs. Pictures: DGS
Peter is delighted to receive a gift from the caring bear and he shared the sweets with Community Integrated Care staff helping look after his needs. Pictures: DGS

Sarah said that her staff have been doing "a fantastic job" in ensuring that each supported person continues to have the highest levels of care and that all their needs are met.

"As a thank-you to the staff and the people we support, the organisation has created treat boxes that contain confectionery items for each individual service," she said.

And, to add a special touch, one of the Community Integrated Care employees, Wendy McLeod, braved the inside of a bear costume while wearing PPE on a sunny day to make the doorstep deliveries– a feat surely worthy of an extra round of applause during the weekly Clap for Carers.

Community Integrated Care is a charity organisation that was founded in 1988 as one of the pioneers of the care in the community agenda.

From left: Sarah Sinclair, service leader for Community Integrated Care in Caithness, the company care bear courtesy of care worker Wendy McLeod, carer Geraldine Leslie and service user Peter Storm. Pictures: DGS
From left: Sarah Sinclair, service leader for Community Integrated Care in Caithness, the company care bear courtesy of care worker Wendy McLeod, carer Geraldine Leslie and service user Peter Storm. Pictures: DGS

It was set up with the aim of delivering life-enhancing support to people with a diverse range of care needs, including autism, mental health conditions and learning disabilities.

Since then, it has grown to provide a wide range of innovative and bespoke care services to thousands of people living across England and Scotland and was awarded the accolade of Charity of the Year at the 2019/20 Charity Times Awards.

Sarah said that the lockdown has massively impacted the lives of her clients who have "had to adjust to a different way of life".

She added: "Obviously, contact with families has been greatly reduced, along with community involvement too.

"Their lives have been completely transformed but they're coping very well on the whole due to the staff teams who are supporting them."

Care staff have been helping the supported individuals with stay-at-home activities such as baking, cooking and gardening.

They also help their clients speak in real time with friends and family through the use of online video technology.


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