QMYOU Alumni Magazine Issue 80 - Page 12

Foot care clinic for Edinburgh’s homeless “People who are homeless tend to have specific foot health problems. Many walk for miles every day but don’t have access to foot healthcare or good quality footwear, and may not have a change of shoes. Also, most people are out in all weathers, they spend large amounts of time standing on hard pavements, and often they have no place to dry shoes or socks. These difficulties can lead to quite significant foot problems.” A team of kind-hearted podiatrists from QMU gave up their time on Christmas Day and Boxing Day to run a foot care clinic for homeless people in Edinburgh. When the rest of Scotland was opening presents and tucking into Christmas dinner at home, Evelyn Weir, Lecturer in Podiatry at QMU and lead podiatry volunteer for Crisis, and 12 podiatry students, offered a twelve-hour long specialist podiatry service for single individuals who live on the streets. The QMU team volunteered with the ‘Crisis at Christmas’ project run by the charity Crisis which helps single homeless people. As well as offering some much needed foot care for the winter months, the Christmas Day and Boxing Day Crisis events offered homeless people services such as hairdressing and massage, along with opportunities to try arts and crafts, as well as providing breakfast, a hot Christmas meal, and supper on each day. Evelyn Weir has spent the last twenty years volunteering with homeless charities and was delighted that a team of students offered, for the second year in a row, to support her work at Christmas. She explained: 12 QMYOU / Health & Rehabilitation Evelyn and her team of students on QMU’s BSc (Hons) Podiatry provided a podiatry service to a high number of male and female homeless people each day. This included providing relaxing foot baths, offering general foot care treatments and advice, and the supply of new warm socks for everyone. Evelyn said: “The podiatry service was again very popular over the two days this year and we were in high demand. I was really heartened that some of our students volunteered to support this project. I was also overwhelmed by the generosity of our sponsors – Algeos, C&P Medical and support from QMU senior management. Sponsors provided absolutely everything on our project wish list – from essential medical supplies and instruments to new winter socks. “We had two fantastic days. The students worked really hard, non- stop at times on Christmas Day, and we all enjoyed the experience. We are already planning for projects throughout the year and for Christmas 2015!” Dr Fiona Coutts, QMU’s Dean of Health Sciences, said: “This is a great learning opportunity for our podiatry students. Not only do they develop both their clinical and interpersonal skills, an opportunity like this enhances their student experience. Once again, this project is an excellent example of Queen Margaret’s mission of improving quality of life.” ❒