Podiatry team helps homeless at Christmas

By Press Office

A team of podiatrists from Queen Margaret University will give up their time on Christmas Day and Boxing Day to look after the foot health of homeless people in Edinburgh.

When the rest of Scotland is celebrating Christmas with family at home, podiatry lecturer and lead podiatry volunteer for  the charity ‘Crisis’, Evelyn Weir, along with 10 Queen Margaret University podiatry students, will run a specialist foot clinic for people who live on the streets of the capital.

The Queen Margaret University podiatrists are volunteering with the ‘Crisis at Christmas’ project. The event is run by the charity Crisis which helps single homeless people.

Christmas can be a difficult time of year for a person cut off from family and home. The ‘Crisis at Christmas’ project provides companionship and support to tackle loneliness and isolation, and helps people take their first steps out of homelessness. The project ran for the first time in Edinburgh in 2013 on Christmas Day. It was such a great success, with incredible support from a wide range of volunteers, that the event has continued to expand each year. 

As well as offering some much needed foot care over the winter period, the Christmas Day and Boxing Day events will offer homeless people services such as hairdressing and massage, as well as providing breakfast, a hot Christmas meal, and supper on each day.

Evelyn Weir, Programme Leader for the BSc (Hons) Podiatry programme at Queen Margaret University, has spent the last twenty-six years volunteering with homeless charities and is delighted that a team of enthusiastic university podiatry students have again offered to support the Crisis event. She explained: “Many people who are homeless tend to walk for miles each day in all kinds of weather. However, they often don’t have access to foot health care or good quality footwear, and probably don’t have a change of shoes. All of these issues combined with the fact that they may stand around on hard pavements in the cold and damp, and have nowhere to store dry shoes and socks, can lead to significant foot problems.”

Evelyn, and her student team from the BSc (Hons) Podiatry course at QMU, will provide a podiatry service for over 100 homeless people on both days. Homeless people will benefit from relaxing foot baths, general foot care treatments and advice, and the supply of new warm socks.

Evelyn said: “I am thrilled that students have volunteered again to support this important project on Christmas Day and Boxing Day, and I’m also overwhelmed by the generosity of our sponsors – Algeos, C&P Medical and support from senior management at Queen Margaret University.  We are now well equipped with essential medical supplies and instruments and can also supply people with new winter socks, donated by QMU staff.

Evelyn concluded: “The project also presents an excellent opportunity for our students to develop their clinical and interpersonal skills whilst making a positive contribution to the community. Using your specialist skills to benefit others seems to make Christmas more meaningful.”



Notes to Editor

Crisis and Christmas  

Crisis at Christmas will run from 8am – 8pm, Christmas Day and 11am – 7pm on Boxing Day.

Queen Margaret University has enlisted the support of several sponsors on this project.

C&P Medical and Algeos have supplied a range of medical podiatry equipment such as disposable instruments and dressings.

Evelyn Weir writes a monthly foot care column for Pavement, a publication which provides useful information to homeless people in London and Glasgow.

For further media information contact Lynne Russell, Communications Manager, Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh,  E: lrussell@qmu.ac.uk T: 0131 474 0000, M: 07711 011239, or Jonathan Perkins, Press and PR Officer, E: jperkins@qmu.ac.uk  T: 0131 474 0000.  

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