Wee Ginger Care Needs – a thank you

Not much in the way of an update today, so apologies to everyone who was looking for words about the independence referendum. I’m off to a meeting of Yes Shettleston this evening, they’re having a wee party for their volunteers and very kindly invited me. Although to be honest, it’s the dug that they really invited. I’m just his butler.

I’d like to thank everyone who has donated to the Wee Ginger Care Needs Fund. The target of £10,000 was never a serious target, I just stuck it in in the usual panic that confronts me when faced with an internet form to fill in. I never expected the total to come anywhere close, but thanks to your care and generosity we have exceeded the target. The indiegogo appeal is now sitting at £10,585 and an additional £445 was received in postal donations. The funding period officially ends on Sunday.

Although originally the appeal fund was intended to raise money to buy in extra care help for my partner Andy, things have changed. Two days after starting the appeal, we found a buyer for our house in Spain. Unfortunately the house hasn’t sold for the price we hoped, and it’s left us with a shortfall of around £14,000 in the amount we need to buy the rented flat we currently live in. So the entire amount raised by the fundraiser appeal will go towards making up the shortfall, and we should – just about – squeeze home. It’s going to be very tight financially, but we’ve got a chance of making it now thanks to your generosity and kindness. Without this fundraising appeal we’d have had no chance at all. Words alone cannot express our gratitude. You’ve given us a roof over our heads.

Andy is still in hospital. He suffered another stroke early in July and it has had a significant impact on his mobility. His dementia has progressed further and most of the time he’s no longer engaging with people. I spoke with the physiotherapist the other day and she told me that they are reaching the limits of what they are able to do to help him in hospital, but unfortunately in her opinion he still does not have sufficient mobility in order to return home. They’re giving him another week to see if there is any more improvement, but if not we will have to discuss his additional care needs and how they can best be met. I don’t want him to go into residential care, and will do all I can to avoid that happening, but things are still up in the air. Getting him home will entail him getting substantially more care support than he had previously.  But thanks to you, at least he will have a home to come back to.

Once the official fundraising period is over, I will take a couple of days to send individual emails of thanks to everyone who has donated. However some donations have been made anonymously, and most of the postal donations were made without a return address – so I won’t be able to contact those people to thank them. I’m writing this blog post as a way of expressing our thanks to those kind but anonymous individuals.

You’ve demonstrated that Scotland is a country of caring and generous people, and irrespective of what happens in September, or what happens with Andy, that gives me great hope for the future and has brought immense comfort during a difficult, painful and distressing time. So thank you again. With people like you in it, Scotland can never fail.

36 comments on “Wee Ginger Care Needs – a thank you

  1. Bamstick says:

    With people like you in it, Scotland can never fail. Your last sentence says it all.

  2. diabloandco says:

    But did YOU get a bed?

    • weegingerdug says:

      Eh no. Not yet. Andy’s in hospital so I got the bedroom back. I’ve been spending the last week sorting out wardrobes and clearing stuff out. There’s loads of packing cases that haven’t been opened since we moved. I’m starting on the spare room next week and will create room for a new bed.

      On the plus side I found loads of lovely vintage clothes (I used to collect them before it got trendy and expensive) so I’m dressing much better. I must be the best dressed indy supporter in the East End now.

  3. Capella says:

    Great news that you’ve raised more than the target. Your blog has been a lifesaver for many of us who would otherwise be depending on the MSM for insight into the human dimension of the independence debate. How poor in spirit we would all be without it.

  4. WRH2 says:

    I was so pleased to see the fund has made more than the target. You deserve all the help as your blog has helped keep lots of us amused, informed and probably sane given the guff that’s been put out by that other lot. What are they calling themselves this week?
    Sorry to hear Andy is still in hospital and not ready to get home yet.
    I hope you and the dug enjoys the meeting in Shettleston tonight.

  5. macart763 says:


    Nothing else, just 🙂

  6. Davie G. says:

    Paul, can you leave the contribution page at IndieGoGo running indefinitely ?

    I’d be happy to be able to continue contributing as and when funds permit and I’m sure many
    others would like to do the same.

    Have a good time at Shettleston tonight … and get that new bed sorted out 🙂

    • weegingerdug says:

      The funding period was set at 60 days, Indiegogo only allows extensions of the funding period up to a total of 60 days, so it can’t be extended any further. Once the deadline passes, the campaign closes. But thanks for suggesting it.

      • Hugh Wallace says:

        Ah, what a shame. I was going to suggest you extended things as well.

        I am so glad you have reached your target Paul. Your and Andy’s situation may be shared with countless others throughout Scotland, the UK and the world, but you, personally, have done so much for your fellow country men and women and shared so much of yourself through these pages that you deserve all that is coming to you.

        Thank you.

        p.s. Get yourself a decent bed!

        • Steve Asaneilean says:

          Can I suggest a memory foam mattress too?

          • AuldGranny says:

            Worst mattress I’ve ever slept on. When considering a new mattress I would suggest bouncing up and down, lying along it for 10 minutes in various postions, and rolling up and doon the bed before buying. And to hell with the startled looks on the sales folk’s faces 😀 It’s a big expenditure

  7. rosa alba says:

    For me, and my minuscule contribution, the difference this has made to your lives is thanks enough.
    We are beholden to support those in our community whether we are religious or not, but because we are human(e), as is a longstanding Scottish tradition.

    I got a bit carried away on this. I may recycle as a blog post. Sorry.

    Carers Allowance is inadequate for purpose, even with housing benefit and the top up from Income Support, and Tax Credits/Incapacity Benefit and DLA.
    The isolation of a Carer is not to be underestimated and we are beyond overdue a the review of provision of adult daycare centres, or in the case of children, adequate childcare for children w. Additional Support Needs up to the age of 18 (even if children without ASN might manage without childcare from 14 onwards; I certainly think the current aged 12/end P7 top out is too young to be leaving a minor home all day, even if he does not have cogntive impairment or impulse control issues; many mainstream provisions for children up to the age of 12 will not take children with conduct disorders or ASN that impact on behaviour, and many have no disability access for children with ASN of a mobility nature; few if any can cope with children with severe cognitive impairment and/or complex – medical – needs).
    For it is not just about the likes of me – or you – being able to work here and now (nor the implications for future employability after a period out of the employment market due to caring), it is about stimulus for those we care for, stimulating experiences that promote brain activity, physical activity and engagement with others that cannot be achieved one to one at home,
    It is not even just about respite (have I said, four years – and two local authorities – in I am still waiting for occasional overnight/weekend respite for my now almost 12 year old Boy who is once more – as most of his life – sleeping extremely poorly which means trying to ski down the stairs in the middle of the night?). Nor about finances or Direct Payments to pay external carers, if you can find carers who will provide continuity of care and have the skills necessary to care for our family members (once again, eight adverts and extensive other resourcefulness have failed to recruit adequately experienced carers for my son over the last two years; locally there are 8 other families with Direct Payments for carers but who cannot recruit.

    It is about the value we ascribe to life. From my – admittedly Catholic – point of view, pro-Life is not merely an issue of termination of pregnancy or end-of-life care: these stances imply even require seeing inherent value in every life, in each a beloved Child of God, whom we should love as ourselves. If we adopt or preach a pro-life stance and/or a stance of diversity and inclusion, we have to put our support services where our mouths are.

    Admittedly it is not unique to Christianity but a fundamental of humanity to want to care for those we love, as the mother her child, but to rely solely and exclusively on available kinship care, paid at lower than subsistance wages does not always equate with – even leaving out carer fatique – the best available or most appropriate care for these vulnerable society members. It comes down to economics and placing a uniform, limited monetary value on (the needs of) these vulnerable individuals, and undervaluing the long hours and intensity of kinship caring of adults and children with Additional Support Needs.

    It exploits the kinship bonds and treats kinship Carers as a commodity while defining Children of God, in His image not as diverse and equal members of society who happen to have Additional Support Needs (ASN) and vulnerabilities, or even despite their needs and vulnerabilites, but a problem to be addressed with the lowest possible manpower and economical impat.

    But equally, the funds with which to pay external carers – I am allocated a notional ten hours a week (in addition to the notional respite and notional holiday package which as with the rest could not be transformed into appropriate local provision) reflect a lack of value and worth attributed to these workers.
    These carers – people to whom we entrust the most vulnerable in our society – are offered little above minimal wage and £7,72 an hour for ten hours a week will not secure a single, consistent, adequately trained and resourced carer for a 5′ 5″ soon-to-be twelve year old with significant impulse control issues, a history of flight, self-harm/suicidal intentions and occasional aggressive tendencies. A recent “Casualty” tv episode showed how inadequately such – often young women – carers are briefed to the client’s specific needs, far less trained to meet them. That it was tv drama in this case does not mean it does not echo the reality of the carer who offered my child a *sharp* knife with which to cut pumpkins, inadvertently aroused his – then unmedicated – aggression, and when he turned on her (and himself) with verbal threats involving the knife, fled leaving him alone, and the door open. Luckily I was in my then neighbour’s garden and we two managed to de-escalate things swiftly. She had not adequate training, nor had she understood the real need for caution over not just sharp implements but certain phrases or words (about which she had been briefed).

    I will add that medication has made a significant difference to my child and we no longer have such extreme drama.

    The (occasional) enhanced rate of £10. 50 also failed to secure anyone.
    Local charities which provide their own in-house carers to come out have long waiting lists or no workers at all in even semi-rural areas, and , will not guarantee continuity of care – the same person – to work with children and vulnerable adults.
    This among other negatives, means you would be contradicting the message of “Stranger Danger” to a child or vulnerable adult who *might* take into their head the inclination to follow someone who has something of interest to them (not necessarily just the proverbial puppy, but say, a remote control aeroplane), even if they would not previously trust and engage with the worker they have had twiceweekly for the past twelve weeks (a different – now de-funded – provision when we lived elsewhere).

    Again it is a question of resourcing and budgets: of dealing with an “issue” with minimal manpower and economic impact (although the low pay of carers of the Elderly, Ill or with Additional Support Needs also exploits the carers themselves, deploying the ill-fitted and under-trained for minimum recompense in jobs where those who would wish to, find the limitations of time with clients – more the elderly, or ill in this case – insufficient to meet the wider array of requirements of the client and the remit of the role.

    Again it is about the value we place on less-than-perfect human life.

    Threatened chances to DLA and Independent Living Fund, which funds are designed meet the speciifc extra needs of those “Disabled” with ASN but which actually all too often end up in the pot required to make ends meet, given the limitations of Carers Allowance. Together with course, ATOS assessments of those too ill to work but which identify the unwell as “able to work” or “having contributed to their illness” further devalue the worth we place on human life.

    With workfare and benefit sanctions real concerns for many, and seemingly applied ad hoc and arbitrarily we seem to have come very little distance from the workhouse of the Victorian era. Although it has to be added that historically, the work or poor house was not – widely – a component of Scottish society. While the Parish did contribute to the care of the destitute the structure and rationale was different: there was a wider ethos of wealth sharing and support.

    Comments by Baroness Warnock (sorry Paul) are all together darker and hark to some of the policies of Nazi Germany.

    • Hugh Wallace says:

      “If we adopt or preach a pro-life stance and/or a stance of diversity and inclusion, we have to put our support services where our mouths are.”

      Rosa, your entire post deserves to be read by every person in the country, but that one sentence sums up everything that needs to be said.

      • rosa alba says:

        Cheers. it is messily written for now. I am going to tidy it up, expand and blog (I will link). It is a concern. Meanwhile – I have a sitter for tonight (YAY!) and am leaving the house.
        Not as upmarket as Yesausgages in Sheltleston, the Community Hall in Stonehaven.

    • Bamstick says:

      I have experienced some of what you mention. But not on a continual basis.
      I’d like to suggest that in an Independent Scotland we consider that everyone completes a period of “Care Service”, not unlike the old National Service, but rather than train to fight we all train to care.
      If this sort of programme was integrated into our society everyone would experience these issues and be actively involved in some sort of caring activity. I mean “Caring Service” in the widest possible sense and no-one should feel that being part of a caring society is anything less then normal.
      With regards to the purchasing of the large aircraft carrier, boat thing, I’d rather we concentrated our efforts on those in this country first. I think that that is the best example we can provide to the world. A country which truly looks after its most important resource, its people.

      I truly believe that we must use our resources to bring every life to its full potential and to applaud those in the care sector, make them our heroes, not people who can kick a football or those who can hum a tune.

      The imbalance in our society caused by the idolisation of so called celebrities is abhorrent to me.
      When my mother was dying the daily carers who came to look after her, make her comfortable and to laugh with her are more worthy of our praises.

      • WRH2 says:

        Bamstick. The meeting in Eyemouth tonight was beyond good. Our film unit (well one man and his camera) was on hand to record it and he’ll email me when its on YouTube. I’ll post the link here as long as the Dug doesn’t growl at me for doing that! Actually it would be worth watching no matter where anyone lives. Jim Sillars was excellent as was Prof Nigel Mace, Selma Rahmann and Scott Blair.
        Downside was seeing a big No Thanks sign at Ayton on the way home.

        • Bamstick says:

          Hi WRH2
          Glad it went so well. I’m looking forward to seeing it.
          I’m told there is also a really BIG No sign on the road into Kelso from the Gordon direction (near the Floors castle area) and another one on a sort of farm truck in the same area.

  8. schrodinger's cat says:

    freely given, do what you think is best for you and yer partner, and the wee ginger dug. your devotion to your partner is inspiring, You are a better man than me. May happiness find you come what may, it must be your turn by now

  9. I hope you get to spend some quality time with Andy at home. Best wishes to you both. xx

  10. YESGUY says:

    No thanks required Paul.

    You earn every penny with your own wee bit oh banter. You have lifted everyone who visits and encouraged us to share. Our hopes are with you and Andy .

    Rosa. Quite brilliant. Carers are the most overlooked people.

    The final straight folks , good luck all

  11. Hope you enjoyed the Shettleston get-together, the vibe and the chat, and that your vintage gear put a swagger in your walk. Maybe a wee photo would be appropriate.

    The large purple No signs are going up all over the Borders — the Tories appear to have gone UKIP. When I calm down I realise they are in the same places as Tory posters go in the run up to an election, so it was only to be expected. Maybe those will encourage a few more Yes ones. With the arrival of the polling cards this morning, the nearness of the vote is becoming scary. Hope we can do it.

    • JGedd says:

      I can tell you – since he’s too modest to say so – that he looks very elegant and stylish, from the immaculate suit to cuff links and tiepin, every inch the discerning man-about- town. All this and a talented writer too – quite the package!

      Keep your spirits up, Paul. With all your troubles, you have managed to do that for all of us.

    • Dr JM Mackintosh says:

      My brother and family are involved in the Inverness Campaign and they are putting up formal campaign posters along side The NO thanks banners.
      Trident – No thanks
      Food banks – No thanks
      Bed room Tax – No Thanks

      Inverness No thanks are furious but they can do nothing about it these are formal campaign posters and they cannot come down.

      Check out Inverness FB pages – they are brilliant. Try the same in the borders.

  12. schrodinger's cat says:

    inspiring blog site

  13. A huge than you from me 🙂 🙂 🙂

  14. Nana Smith says:

    Happy to have helped. You have given us more by way of uplifting articles, some of which have made me sore from laughter. The fact that you manage this when your partner has been ill shows how much you care for us. Thank you.

  15. McTim says:

    Was a pleasure to donate, Paul. Delighted to hear we could make a difference. If you need a hand with sorting out stuff in the house, give me a shout via email.

  16. Vestas says:

    I hope you find your way through his demise in the least damaging way to you. Its what “your Englishman” would have wanted.

  17. archie says:

    Loadsa luv to all of you from Archie in Aberdeen. 2014 would not have been the same without you and now you have thousands of friends.

  18. Dr JM Mackintosh says:

    you do not need to send me any thanks. We are happy to help in any way. Your blog is far more important to me and many others so keep it going all the way up to the 19th. We have to thank you.
    All the best to you and Andy.

  19. Maria Sheridan says:

    Dear Paul, please do not waste any spare time you have thanking contributors individually…..this message suffices! Your readers appreciate that you appreciate us and any contribution we made to your care fund. We understand the pressures on you and just want to support you and Andy in any way we can. Please understand the appreciation and value we place on your writing….you have the gift of being able to articulate how many of us feel and you have been able to capture that and feed that back to us in a way that inspires and motivates us to keep going. I attended a womens’ meeting in Argyll last night and one woman raised how inspiring Wee Ginger Dug had been for her and another dozen women in the audience agreed. Those women talked about your Carntyne in the Rain article and how it made them cry but also shared how much they found your writing inspiring and reinforced their views for Yes. Please understand that your work ….and you…are not only appreciated and valued, but there is a great deal of love and respect for you. Regardless of the vote next month, your place and your contribution to the movement, will be widely acknowledged and recognised. I wish you and Andy lots of love and healing. xx

  20. […] ship (that the Wee Ginger Dug would name, the ‘Margo MacDonald’). Talking of the Wee Dug, love is what brought him £10,000 from all around Scotland from people he had never met to help him and his ailing partner and love […]

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