Jedburgh’s Melissa and Donna go that extra mile or 13 for care home

A carer and a cleaner drafted in to help at a coronavirus-struck Borders care home have left a lasting impression on residents and staff there after going that extra mile – or 13 – to brighten up their lives.

By Paul Kelly
Thursday, 9th July 2020, 11:25 am
Donna Robson and Melissa Page in Bongate in Jedburgh with their fundraising half-marathon medals.
Donna Robson and Melissa Page in Bongate in Jedburgh with their fundraising half-marathon medals.

Saltgreens Care Home in Eyemouth has been hit by eight deaths related to Covid-19, as the disease is also known, and Scottish Borders Council relief carer Melissa Page and deep squad cleaner Donna Robson were called in to help out there at the end of March at the height of the outbreak.

Despite initially being concerned for their own safety, friends Melissa and Donna, both of Jedburgh, were reassured that the necessary safety measures were in place and soon formed a close bond with residents and care staff.

The pair are both members of the Jed Joggers running group and they decided to use their enthusiasm for exercise to help out the Chapel Street care home by taking part in a fundraising 13-mile run, raising £900 so far.

That money will be used to spruce up its gardens for the benefit of families not yet allowed to visit residents inside.

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Donna, 48, said: “I was sent to the care home on March 28 and I was aware of the situation with Covid-19. I am a squad cleaner for the council, so if there are cleaners off, I go in as cover. I make sure that everything is deep-cleaned for the residents.

“At first, I was concerned, but when I got there, the carers and the management and the residents put me at ease, if you know what I mean, and with wearing personal protective equipment, I was more comfortable working there.”

She added: “I set up a GoFundMe page and did a half-marathon in Jedburgh. You go online and send proof that you have done it and then they send you a medal.

“At Saltgreens, they have got three gardens, and the money is going to be used to do the gardens up, so that when families come to see residents, they have somewhere nice to sit because they are not allowed into the building with the lockdown.

“The money will buy plants and hanging baskets just to brighten it up a bit.”

Melissa, 40, added: “I did the half-marathon on the same day as Donna. She did a different route to me. Her sister-in-law cycled alongside her and another lady from Jed Joggers offered to run with me.

“We ran from Jedburgh to Harestanes and did a loop round there.

“When we got back, the ladies from the Jed Joggers cheered us in, so that was quite nice.”

Melissa only started as a relief carer earlier this year after she was laid off from her job as a production operator at Jedburgh’s Mainetti garment-hanger factory and did well to fit in time to run a half marathon as she now works up to 70 hours a week.

She said: “I got furloughed from Mainetti, which I have now been made redundant from.

“After I was furloughed, I got asked if I wanted to go to Saltgreens and I thought ‘oh, they have got Covid there, I’m not quite sure’, but I went anyway, and since then I have been there and started doing 12-hour shifts.

“I have been getting up and 5am and taking my son to work, coming home, going to work at 6.30am and coming home at nine at night.

“It’s been very long days, so I have not seen my husband because he works nightshifts and he leaves before I come in, and I haven’t seen my four-year-old in I don’t know how long as I’ve been doing up to 70 hours a week.”

Melissa is full of praise for fellow staff and residents at Saltgreens.

She added: “They are amazing, so lovely, so welcoming, so much so that I have changed my relief contract from Grove House in Kelso to Saltgreens because I love it so much.”

Paying tribute to Donna and Melissa, Eyemouth provost James Anderson, also chairman of the town’s community council, said: “We are all aware of the tragedy that has happened within the walls of our nursing home.

“Donna and Melissa are an example of hard-working staff doing their best.

“A big thank-you and well done to Donna from Eyemouth Community Council.”