Fife police focus on COVID social isolation impact in Christmas campaign

Police in Fife have teamed up with a local charity to help combat social isolation over the festive period.

By Debbie Clarke
Tuesday, 1st December 2020, 9:57 am
Steve Bryan, project worker with Curnie Clubs (left) with Chief Superintendent Derek McEwan, Divisional Commander for Fife who are raising awareness of social isolation as part of this year's festive police campaign in Fife.
Steve Bryan, project worker with Curnie Clubs (left) with Chief Superintendent Derek McEwan, Divisional Commander for Fife who are raising awareness of social isolation as part of this year's festive police campaign in Fife.

The past nine months have seen communities in the Kingdom endure significant challenges as a result of the pandemic.

This has resulted in many people becoming isolated from friends and family.

To try to minimise isolation over Christmas, and into the New Year, police are working alongside the Curnie Clubs organisation.

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It supports people who are socially isolated and helps develop their social skills and confidence to improve their quality of life.

It also provides therapeutic group work to help build friendships.

As part of Fife Division's festive campaign, officers will be providing the usual advice on guidance on how people can enjoy a safe, crime-free Christmas.

But this year’s campaign will also feature messages from Curnie Clubs on isolation.

Chief Superintendent Derek McEwan, Divisional Commander for Fife, said as well as targeting internet fraudsters, encouraging people to make sure their cars are road-worthy for winter and enforcing the don’t drink and drive message, the force is also focusing on mental health.

“Social isolation can have a detrimental impact on people’s mental health,” he said. “We saw an opportunity to work closely with the Curnie Clubs to see what messaging we can get out to communities to raise awareness of those who feel isolated.

"We can circulate information around officers, and if they feel they are engaging with someone who would benefit from some kind of support, they will make them aware of what the Curnie Club can provide.

"We also have a vulnerable person’s database, and every police officer who attends a call where they recognise vulnerability can share that with our key partners to highlight that this individual needs support.

"Our hub will look at some of the entries to see if they spot someone who is clearly struggling with social isolation. We can share their details with the Curnie Club to introduce someone who can help if the police can’t."

Steve Bryan, project support worker with Curnie Clubs, said sometimes people just need someone to listen to them and to feel valued.

Chief Superintendent McEwan added: “We are encouraging people to check on their neighbours this festive season, to look out for each other. Just having some human interaction makes a difference.”

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