Laois council to lead county alliance to help local people during coronavirus Covid-19 emergency

Conor Ganly

Reporter:

Conor Ganly

Email:

news@leinsterexpress.ie

Covid-19  coronavirus

Laois County Council

Laois County Council is to take the lead in an alliance of local organisations and agencies to assist citizens during the Covid-19 emergency.

The council said that, at the instigation of Minister Eoghan Murphy, a Covid-19 Community Response Forum will be put in place for each City/County and co-ordinated by the local authority in each case.

The council said that the Laois Community Response Forum includes over a dozen agencies and organisations.

The council said role of the Forum is to ensure that there is a co-ordinated community response and to enable all voluntary statutory agencies to collaborate in support of our communities and particularly of our most vulnerable members.

A statement said that a dedicated community support helpline will be established in Laois County Councilto assist at risk members of the public in accessing non-emergency and non-medical supports and advice during the current public health emergency.

The helpline is focused primarily on ensuring that vulnerable members of the community or those living alone can access deliveries of groceries, medicine and fuels.

Included in the COVID-19 Laois Community Response Forum are:

  • Laois County Council
  • Health Service Executive
  • An Garda Síochána
  • An Post
  • GAA
  • IFA
  • Laois Partnership
  • Tusla
  • Laois PPN
  • Laois Migrants
  • Local Link
  • Rural Link nominee – Mountmellick Development Association
  • Citizens Information
  • Civil Defence & Other community, voluntary and sports representatives

The new phoneline is just one aspect of the Forum’s work.

The coucil says its core aim is contributing to the community-wide effort to limit the spread of COVID-19. 

Laois County Council through this group, says it will ensure that the wide variety of groups working across the county to assist those in need, will do so in an organised, collaborative and targeted way. 

The Council says Forum exists to ensure the very best use of the many resources assisting vulnerable persons with their daily needs at this unprecedented time, whether that is collecting medication, food shopping, social support and contact.

John Mulholland is Chief Executive of Laois County Council.

"There are a number of agencies currently doing excellent work in delivering care to older and vulnerable people in our communities. These groups are currently operating independently of each other and LaoisCountyCouncil’srole is to provide a targeted, integrated and coordinated approach to the delivery of these much needed services to our more vulnerable citizens across the County during the COVID-19 pandemic. Laois County Council is ideally placed both statutorily and regionally to channel this great work and provide the governance structure in partnership with all stakeholders. 

"This public health crisis has changed life for so many, and we are there to help with that change.  Our own staff whose day-jobs have changed due to this crisis, will be a key resource in the management and operation of this community support programme along with our partner agencies/groups.   

"Laois County Council will be providing a dedicated FREE contact number with the lines open from 9am to 8 PM seven days a week; this service will “kick in” once a new FreePHONE number becomes operational during Monday 30th March," said Mr Mulholland.

Contact details of this new service will be promoted on the Laois County Council website, the PPN website as well as on local media. 

An information leaflet including the new freephone number and other information will be distributed around the county, particularly to vulnerable households, over the coming days.