COVID19 Community Outreach: Limerick Civic Trust organised a Community Hearts Project. Pictured is Meadhbh Nolan and Bernard O’Reilly of Limerick Civic Trust.
COVID19 Community Outreach Programme comes to an end after supporting communities for three months
Tuesday, June 30 marked the end of the successful COVID19 Community Outreach (CCO) Programme, a joint initiative by The Wheel, the national association of charities, and Irish Rural Link, the national network representing the interest of rural communities and funded by the Department of Rural and Community Development.
Since the Taoiseach’s announced the programme on the March, 27 34 Local Community Champions across the country have worked tirelessly to link and support the work of community and voluntary organisations responding to meet the needs of those who were cocooning. The aim of the programme was to ensure no person would be left behind during the pandemic.
Over the last three months, the Community Champion for Limerick City, Limerick Civic Trust, helped to join the dots and link thousands of people who were cocooning into local services so their needs were fully met, linked volunteers to hundreds of community and voluntary organisations and vice versa and identified gaps in services and reported these back to their local authority forum meeting.
They also dealt with a lot of social issues, such as loneliness among those cocooning, delivery of school meals and food parcels to families in need as well as helping people celebrate their birthdays when family were unable to celebrate with them.
As Community Champion for Limerick City, Limerick Civic Trust organized a Community Hearts Project, inspired by the Community Champions in Cork. “The aim of our Hearts Project was to spread a sense of community spirit and support across Limerick City and County to those hit hardest during this pandemic – our nursing and care homes, and to remind people that while the country is coming out of lockdown, we should not forget about the older generation who may not feel ready to ‘return to normality’ just yet.
We would encourage everyone to reach out to their family members, friends and neighbours, whether it be picking up the phone, calling in for a social distanced chat, or even sending a letter – keep those contact lines open and stay connected.”
Meadhbh Nolan, Limerick Civic Trust, “We at Limerick Civic Trust want to thank the wonderful women of Patrickswell who volunteered their time to make this project happen, they created crocheted hearts in county colours for each resident of nursing homes across the county.
We also want to thank our frontline workers and to highlight their continued hard work as they begin to reunite families and friends who were kept apart during the lockdown.”
Both The Wheel and Irish Rural Link are extremely grateful for the hard work and effort the Champions have done in their local communities.
Speaking of the work Limerick Civic Trust has done both Deirdre Garvey, CEO of the Wheel and Seamus Boland, CEO Irish Rural Link said “We would like to express our heartfelt gratitude to Limerick Civic Trust for the tremendous work they have done over the last few months in providing ongoing support to the people, community & voluntary organisations and volunteers in their communities and made the programme the success it was.
Limerick Civic Trust showed great leadership in their communities and by working together with their local authority, agencies and with the community and voluntary organisations they ensured that the needs of every person were met”.
Speaking about the ending of the CCO Programme, the Department of Rural and Community Development said “The Department was delighted to provide funding towards the COVID-19 Community Outreach Project.
The Community Champions appointed across the country really sprang into action, helping to coordinate the local community response to the crisis. The DRCD works closely with the Community and Voluntary Sector and this project served to embed that relationship further. We look forward to continuing to work with the sector into the future to help our communities face the challenges of recovery”.
The impact of COVID-19 pandemic on peoples’ mental health and wellbeing will be felt for some time and the necessary supports must be available in communities to support these people.
People affected by COVID-19 will continue to receive support through the government’s Community Call initiative. For more information, call the Limerick Community Call Helpline at 1800 832 005. This number is available from 8 am to 8 pm, Monday to Sunday.
About The Wheel
The Wheel is Ireland’s national association of charities, community and voluntary organisations, and social enterprises. With over 1,700 members, it is the largest representative body for the sector.
About Irish Rural Link
Irish Rural Link is the national network for community groups in disadvantaged and marginalised rural areas. It represents their interests by highlighting problems, advocating appropriate policies, and sharing experiences and examples of good practice.
For more information on The Wheel, click here.
For more information on Irish Rural Link, click here.
For more stories on Limerick Civic Trust, click here.