WHEN you think of Sue Ryder, you might think of a charity shop but for a pair of Carnoustie girls it means much more.
Since August last year, Sue Ryder Care has provided vital respite services to the family of Ayley and Chloe Hirsch, the twins who recently returned from a life-altering operation in America.
The three-year-olds suffer from cerebral palsy and over £175,000 was raised in the community to fund the operation to remove spasticity from their legs.
Now the twins are getting a new lease of life and more than ever their parents need support to tackle all the new challenges they face.
Before they received help from Sue Ryder, parents Averil and Frazer had a difficult time dealing with the situation.
Averil explained: “It was a struggle, tea time was a horrific time. Lilly had activities to go to and I had to take the girls with me, getting them in and out of the car was really difficult.
“I couldn’t go shopping. Chloe was too big for the trolley and so I had to push a trolley and a wheelchair at the same time.
“It was a situation where Lilly was missing out on activities because we couldn’t take her. It was just a very stressful time for us. It was hard.”
Averil was a little sceptical at first about bringing a stranger into their family home. She stated: “I didn’t know anything about Sue Ryder’s homecare scheme. I just thought it was a charity shop.
“The girls’ social worker suggested it. I wasn’t sure I wanted someone in my house, but we had to do something to give the girls more opportunities.”
The Sue Ryder Carers visit the Hirsch family every night for a few hours, giving Averil a chance to cook, shop, or do any one of the everyday tasks we all take for granted.
Averil went on: “It gives me a chance to do things when the girls aren’t with me, like the shopping or taking Lilly to activities.
“They are very close to us now. They came to my wedding reception and they took the girls home for me.”
She added: “They are definitely not just a charity shop. It’s a care service as well. The service they give my family is outstanding.
“Wherever I go, they go with me, whatever I ask, they do it. I couldn’t do without them now to be honest.
“They are part of the family now and the girls love them. These girls should be praised for what they do.”
Their current care team is made up of Violet Barclay, Kay Cargill, Lucy Conway, Libby Devany and Helen Haldane.
Gary Butchart, Sue Ryder care service manager based in Arbroath, added: “We were asked by Angus Council to help.
“Really we are there to look after the twins and to help Averil and Frazer to allow them to be able to get out and take their eldest daughter out too.
“Literally to be there with them for a number of hours, which we have done.
“Averil knows the carers are going to be there to look after Ayley and Chloe, that takes a load off her mind as she knows the girls are going to be safe.
“They are two fantastic little characters, and characters are exactly what they are! The carers really enjoy going to them and have also witnessed the massive changes in the girls.
“We’re very, very pleased to be part of that.”