The Dochas Centre 50 Campbell Street, Lochgilphead, Argyll PA31 8JU               Scottish Charity No  029821                                                                                                                

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Bringing Together People who Care”

Sasha by Lochgilphead

Loss is a terrible thing whether it be from the death of a loved one or from the devastation we feel over a loved one’s long-term illness or disability. A sense of loneliness, even desertion, can affect us. Our lives have been disrupted; change has taken away normality. This is exactly how I felt when my husband, John, suffered his severe stroke in 2009. I recall standing alone in the reception area of our local hospital wondering what I should be doing and how my life had been turned upside down. I remember the receptionist saying, ‘You’ll be your husband’s carer now.’ And my silent, gut reaction: ‘No! I’m John’s wife, his partner, never, never his carer. We take care of each other!’ ‘Perhaps you should stop in a the Dochas Carers’Centre,’ she continued. But her words didn’t even register; I was barely conscious.

Each time I visited John during those trying months, this same receptionist would mention the Dochas Centre. Having been raised correctly I finally decided a response was in order…I would drop in at the Dochas Centre, make an appearance, do the necessary, give a positive response to the hospital receptionist and, having done my duty, be left alone. And so I stopped in at the Centre; told my story to Maggie McLaren; cried a few tears…and was off. Mission accomplished. I was absolved from my perceived obligation to both the receptionist and the Dochas Centre.

But the Dochas Centre was not fisnished with me, nor I with it. As the days passed and in a daze I went about my daily tasks I kept running into Maggie McLaren. In the Tesco, at the Co-op, on the street, parking the car, Fate (or whatever Power you believe in) it appeared was placing this fine woman in my path…sending me a message. At each chance meeting Maggie would gently suggest (no pressure) that I stop back in---‘Just for a chat,’ she’d say. I did just that and so the bond was forged. No condescension, no patronising, just a warm welcome; a time to take stock; a time to be listened to; a chance not to feel isolated and of course, the always welcome cup of tea. What did I, SASHA RUTHERFORD, need? Dochas was there to offer support: practical, and emotional for me, for my personal situation.

What stands out about the Dochas Centre, among many other things, is its availability. Use it; don’t use it; use it a lot, use it as little…IT’S ALWAYS THERE TO BE CALLED UPON!. For the time you are there it’s YOUR space, YOUR time, YOUR chance to share your story, your fears, your concerns, your perceived failures, and happily, your successes. I’ve done this many, many times even after John’s departure in September of 2009. In a very real sense I’ve needed the Dochas Centre, albeit in a different way, even more since John’s been gone. Support without the follow-up has only been half accomplished. The Dochas Centre did not cast me adrift. It’s been there for me every step of the way with the HOPE (its Gaelic name), help, heart, a hand extended in friendship, and what for me is all important HUMOUR!


Anne, Isle of Islay

Dochas has been supporting me for 2 years and a half, and now we have a “group” on Islay. We meet once a month and whatever the “theme” for the day we always have fun. Lunch is also included. Outings have included trips to Jura, Colonsay and Portavadie – may be a small fee for that. “Caring for carers” is the aim of Dochas but their holistic approach covers the total situation.  An ear and a shoulder are always forthcoming and where required a very pro-active system is used to assist the carer. Just a call to the centre to chat is always a tonic! Or if you can drop in you will be most welcome. Being a carer is not always an easy task, however willing we are to do it and with much love and kindness we have to give. Rest assured – with support in all its shapes from the team at Dochas. The sky is the limit.

Debby, Campbeltown

Coming to the group means I am able to unburden my troubles that I am not able to express elsewhere.  I know that it is confidential and that people understand.  It stops me feeling guilty as no one is judging me on what I am saying.  Being able to come to the group and discuss things makes me feel better.

The group has helped to develop friendships.  I can now pass the time of the day in the street with someone from the group knowing that they understand and that their “how are you?” is a genuine one.  Caring can be very isolating and coming to the group is good company.  I have met some really nice people that I would not have otherwise met.  I don’t know what I would have done without this group.

Elaine, Campbeltown

Being able to come to a group where I don’t have to take on a role of responsibility is great.  This is the first time that I have been the beneficiary of a group and not had the stress of running the group put on me.  I can come to the group and have my tea and cake made for me and I can be pampered.  It makes me feel valued and that I am not on my own.

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