"I go shopping many times a week, and I get the best reward points,” says Deb, and she's not talking about a rewards card or fly buys. The social support worker takes people to the shopping centres who would otherwise not be able to go.
Grocery shopping is an unpopular chore at the best of times but when mobility is an issue it can become a downright hurdle to your independence and well-being. And this is where Deb’s work makes a real difference to her clients.
“I wouldn’t know what to do without her”, says Ben, who has been shopping with Deb for almost 6 years, “Before I used this service I’d avoid buying heavy things like potatoes, and sometimes I wouldn’t go to do my shopping at all. With Deb it is a bit like a social outing. She makes sure I choose well and we have a laugh when we’re out,” he explains.
One to one shopping is one of many different shopping services offered by South Eastern Community Connect.
“Our services are tailored to suit the individual needs of our clients,” explains Irene Trovato, social support coordinator. “We run a fortnightly shopping bus for those who just need door to door transport to list shopping for those who are unable to go to the shops themselves. We also deliver fruit and vegetables to clients who need to reduce the volume and weight of their regular grocery shop without missing out on the nutrients from fresh produce,” explains Irene.
“Our one-to-one shopping service is for those who still want the independence of going to the shops and choosing their own groceries but who may not be able to use the shopping bus. We pick our clients up by car, drive with them to the shopping centre and help them with the shopping as needed. When we’re done we load up the car, drive the client home and bring the shopping inside,” explains Irene.
But it is never just about the shopping.
“Ben has been my client for a long time”, says Deb, “and for him, like for most of my clients, it is as much about the groceries as it is about the socialising, getting out of the house and staying connected with the world around us.”