Laois leads the way with new community 'Check-in' to see 'how you are doing'

New Laois County Council initiative for older or vulnerable people living alone or who are more isolated

Leinster Express Reporter

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community check in

Laois County Council Cathaoirleach Cllr. Catherine Fitzgerald and Director of Services, Donal Brennan launching the ‘Keep Well’ Check-In initiative at County Hall, Portlaoise.

Laois County Council is launching a new initiative ‘Check-In’ across the county as part of the ‘Keep Well’ Community Resilience Campaign. 

The ‘Check-In’ initiative is a proactive response to Staying connected, one of the themes of the ‘Keep Well’ campaign.  Staying connected with people is important to our wellbeing during this pandemic, support person-to-person connection and addressing, identifying and reaching out to those most at risk of isolation within our communities.  

During the current restrictions neighbourly check-ins are even more important and the Laois ‘Keep Well’ Community ‘Check-In’ initiative is doing just that in an innovative and non-contact way with ‘Check-In’ cards that are postcard sized. 

The card provides details of the Laois Community Call Helpline as well as a friendly message “I called today to check in and see how you are doing. If you need anything or even a chat give me a call.”  

Cards have been distributed to Laois Public Participation Network (PPN) member groups who will carry out the local check-in activity.  PPN members will only conduct check-ins within their own 5km radius.  This collaborative action with Laois PPN member groups will enable check-ins on those older/vulnerable persons in the community, living alone or more isolated as part of the ‘Keep Well’ campaign in Laois.

The concept of the cards is that it is not intrusive to the vulnerable or isolated person, and gives them an invitation to connect, should they wish to do so – either with the local person who dropped off the card (dropping the card in the post box of the person – ensuring a non-contact check in) or with Laois Community Call Helpline.  As a security element, and reassurance to the recipient, the cards provide a space for the person leaving the card to identify how the recipient may know them – e.g. Mary from No. 4, John from the local shop etc. 

Speaking of the initiative Julie Scully, Healthy Ireland County Coordinator said: “We are delighted to be collaborating with Laois PPN on this initiative.  As a network with over 400 member groups across the county they will ensure a broad reach. The hope is also that by linking with established groups, this may help to build community connections locally and therefore be a sustainable and resilient approach to offer support.”

Dan Bergin, Laois PPN Coordinator said: “Our member groups are delighted to be collaborating on this ‘Check-In’ initiative to ensure that older and vulnerable persons in our communities, living alone or more isolated are not forgotten during this pandemic.  Laois PPN is made up of a broad range of member organisations including Tidy Towns groups, Residents Associations, Sports Clubs, Community Councils, Youth Clubs, Environmental Groups and many more types of social inclusion, community & voluntary groups.  These groups have extensive connections throughout the county and can work well together to reach out and conduct neighbourly check-ins.”  MORE BELOW PICTURE.

‘Check-In’ is part of a range of local initiatives funded under the ‘Keep Well’ Community Resilience Campaign which also includes Laois Community Call Helpline.  The Helpline can be accessed Monday to Friday on 1800 832 010 between the hours of 9am and 5pm, or by emailing covidsupport@laoiscoco.ie.  It is for non-emergency and non-medical calls and this free and confidential service is focused on ensuring that vulnerable members of our community or those living alone can access deliveries of groceries, medicine and fuels, and social support and advice. 

The Keep Well campaign is brought to you with thanks to Healthy Ireland an initiative of the Government of Ireland with funding from the Healthy Ireland Fund and the Sláintecare Fund delivered by Pobal, administered by Laois County Council.  For more information on the Keep Well campaign, go to www.laois.ie/keep-well 

#KeepWell.