Hilton Family Support during the Lockdown

by | May 2, 2020 | News and reports

Hilton Family Support during the Coronavirus Lockdown

Most of us are familiar with Simeon Ewing’s pre-coronavirus work at Hilton Family Support: running a Toddler Group and Parent Support Group, managing the Mentoring project which gives support to vulnerable children at Hilton and Cauldeen Primary schools, and organising community gatherings in partnership with Hilton Church.  In all these activities he worked with teams of committed volunteers.

I had a chat with Simeon on Friday morning to catch up with how things have changed since the Lockdown began.  He mentioned five areas of work, and highlighted his continuing dependence on volunteers.

Continuing to support the families Hilton Family Support were already working with

Simeon and his volunteers keep in touch with these families, contacting them at least once a week, asking how things are with them, giving folk a chance to talk, and getting things they need, for instance shopping

Responding to referrals from other agencies

There’s a network of agencies in place across the city helping people in need. Names are referred to local workers ‘on the ground’, and Simeon receives referrals from the Councils Community Hubs, from Community Early Years Practitioners, ‘In this together’ (formerly Signpost) and some coming directly from the people needing help.

Simeon tells me that more than half of the people referred are elderly folk who can’t get to the shops. The help they require often involves fetching shopping or prescriptions. One request came from a Council worker who had identified two ladies who said that what they were really missing during the Lockdown was obtaining a daily paper. One of Simeon’s volunteers delivers a paper to each of them morning by morning.

Simeon deals with most of these referrals, but he has a bank of volunteers to draw on. They are members of a dedicated Whatsapp group. When Simeon receives a referral he can’t personally repond to, he mentions it on Whatsapp, and someone quickly volunteers to do what’s required.

Working with Joe and Hannah at the Light House

Hannah and Joe hope to begin work next week, and this will lead to what Simeon calls ‘a whole new surge in activity.’ They had hoped to prepare frozen meals which would be delivered to people in need.  However, Environmental Health vetoed this on the grounds that, with freezing, transporting and thawing the meals,  there was too much of a health risk.

So Hannah and Joe are cooking fresh meals for people on Tuesdays and Fridays, which will be delivered straight to people’s houses. To begin with, somewhere between 20 and 25 people will be fed – mostly those with whom Hilton Family Support have already been in touch, plus 12 folk from Lochiel Road who have been identified as in need of this service by a Council Sheltered Housing Warden. But Simeon anticipates that the number of people being fed will quickly grow, and more volunteers, able to commit to particular time-slots, will be required.

Liaising with Inverness Foodstuffs

Inverness Foodstuffs works from Ness Bank Church, providing meals for people in need, and they deliver some in the Hilton area.  Currently, Simeon is seeking to enlist volunteers able to commit to deliver meals on behalf of Inverness Foodstuffs on Saturdays.

Activity packs

Already, Simeon has put some activities for kids into bags of food being delivered to clients, but he is  developing something more substantial. These Activity Packs will include things for children to do, and will be accompanied by fresh fruit for the families.  It will be a little while before this project is ready to go.

How can we help Simeon?

By volunteering

Do let Simeon know if you are willing to help with any of the above projects – especially the delivery of Hannah and Joe’s meals

By praying

Do please pray for Simeon;

  • For calmness and energy during the ups-and-downs of his daily work
  • That he may sleep well
  • That he may have good, quality family time with his wife and daughters.


You can contact Hilton Family Support
The Lighthouse
Tomatin Road

Phone: 01463 224477    Email: projectworker@hiltonfamily.support