BY: Michelle Liew
Despite hard times dawning upon us during the pandemic, it is the glimpse of positivity that keeps us going forward.
For Sarah, she has her wonderful village community to thank for providing her autistic son a sense of meaning during the Covid-19 lockdown.
Hailing from Wales, Sarah and her son Cal Carr moved from South Wales to the Midlands two years ago. Cal feels that he has “changed” since he started to deliver groceries and prescriptions to people in the Vale of Glamorgan village of St Athan.
According to Sarah, the gifts and support from neighbours have made Cal feel needed and his meltdowns, which worsened during the lockdown, have stopped. One of their neighbours gave Cal a hoody printed with ‘Cal’s Delivery Service’ after hearing he wanted to wear a uniform like his siblings.
Sarah stated that as Cal had a severe learning disability, the gift meant the world to him.
“Callum likes to feel he’s the same as everybody else,” says Sarah as quoted from BBC.
“His siblings used to wear a uniform [to school] but they didn’t have a uniform for his [special] school so for photographs I used to get him a sweatshirt the same colour as his siblings to make him feel the same.
“He wants to be accepted, he wants to be the same as his brothers and his sister, he wants to go out and be working but with his disabilities he’s unable to get paid work.”
Adding on to the uniform, other neighbours have made Cal a lanyard, ID cards, leaflets and given him a shopping trolley, and he’s also been given a new trike to help him make deliveries.
Sarah noted that times were extremely difficult during lockdown as Cal was not feeling his best.
“He got very depressed and didn’t want to do anything, so we came up with the idea of Cal’s Collection to get him out and about really. To get him away from the four walls.”
“Since Callum started this delivery service it has had a positive impact 100-fold on family life.”
Sarah is grateful for the hospitality shown by the community in St Athan.
“They’ve really have taken Callum and ourselves to their hearts,” Sarah said.
“Callum feels valued and that he has a purpose now, he’s happier, he’s more positive in mood, he’s more helpful, he wants to go out and do the deliveries and prescriptions.”
Cal agrees that the support of his village has brightened up his days.
“I was really, really fed up. I needed to get out to do things – I have meltdowns most of the time. I get really, really frustrated and angry.
“I can’t understand why changes are happening, different things are happening… I can’t understand why Covid is here, why it is still going on. I don’t understand what I can and can’t do.”
The community is thankful for Cal’s service and his customers take it to his Facebook page to leave positive and heart-warming reviews. With that being said, his family have now set up a second service called Cal’s Collection Homeless Service, where he collects unwanted clothes, bedding and shoes and distributes them to people who are homeless or in need.