An unpaid carer has paid tribute to a ‘fantastic’ Aberdeen social care charity.
VSA operates a respite service to support unpaid and informal carers.
Shahnaz Bashir, with her husband Syed and two children, moved to Aberdeen just over a year ago.
It comes after the family relocated from Pakistan to Glasgow 10 years ago.
She is a registered carer for her 15-year-old son Waleed who lives with epilepsy, cerebral palsy, and is registered blind. Her husband Said works for VSA at Ruthrieston House.
Shahnaz’s older son, Shahzad Ahmad, is also registered as a young carer for his brother and helps his mum and dad support him.
When Shahzad received an offer from Aberdeen University to study medicine, the whole family decided to move to support his dream.
When they relocated to the city, the family contacted VSA and Shahnaz and her eldest son are now both registered at the charity as unpaid carers.
Shahnaz said: “The team has been fantastic. They signposted me to different opportunities to meet other carers, provided me with information about mental wellbeing, and where to get different information.
“Initially moving to Aberdeen was a bit unsettling for us, as we do not have any family or friends here and because of Waleed’s learning difficulties, so we wanted to find an organisation that could help us.
“I obviously can’t attend Carers Cafe at the moment due to lockdown, which has been hard because I only really started going to them when this crisis started. VSA has held virtual events but it is nicer to see people in person.
“As a full-time carer for my son, a mum for my eldest son, and a wife, it is nice to know I have VSA Carers there to help support me if I need it.
“My carer adviser is a fantastic lady. She called me a few times during lockdown and provided me with very good advice.”
Shahnaz said her two sons have a ‘special relationship’.
She added: “Shahzad would normally be at university, however, due to lockdown he has been at home the past few months to help me with caring.
“Due to Waleed’s learning difficulties, he gets bored at home, so we try to take him out for a walk every day. He loves the sounds of birds, wind, and water so it helps relax him.
“Waleed also loves music, and my eldest son often puts headphones on with his favourite music. We know when Waleed doesn’t like a song as he knocks the headphones off.
“Having Shahzad home during lockdown has been great for Waleed. They have such a special relationship and I love seeing them together. We moved with Shahzad because Waleed would really miss him and would be very upset.”
Jackie Campbell, carers service manager at VSA, said: “At VSA, our Adult Carers team is here to support unpaid carers like Shahnaz, and can offer a range of practical, emotional, and social support.
“Although the Covid-19 pandemic has meant we can’t meet face-to-face we are still here at the end of a phone or video call, and we have also introduced virtual cafés and toolkit sessions which include digital resources to help support your health and wellbeing during this period.
“If you or someone you know is caring for someone and need support, please visit our website www.vsa.org.uk and any of our carers team will be happy to help.”