Laois council leads the way in response to Covid-19 crisis with cocoon helpline

Conor Ganly

Reporter:

Conor Ganly

Laois council leads the way in response to Covid-19 crisis with cocoon helpline

Laois County Council has urged anybody who is cocooning during the Covid-19 lockdown or other people who need support to contact its new Community Response Support helpline.

The confidential helpline has been in place now for almost a week, operated on a 12-hour day/seven day week basis by Laois County Council staff. It aims to facilitate the most appropriate community response to the needs of vulnerable people living in the community where their usual sources of support have become unavailable due to Covid-19. The helpline is focused on ensuring that vulnerable members of the community or those living alone can access deliveries of groceries, medicine and fuels.

These details are publicised on the Community Support Response page on the Council’s website, and have been circulated via the council and Laois Public Participation Network social media pages.

To date the helpline has received approximately 100 calls. 25% of calls received to date are from vulnerable individuals seeking collection/delivery of groceries/medicines/fuel.

Around 11 % of calls have been from individuals experiencing social isolation or expressing concerns with regard to someone who may be in that situation, and seeking information on supports and engagement with specialist service providers such as ALONE. Other calls are referred to appropriate agencies such as HSE (medically related queries), Meals on Wheels service and An Garda Síochána.

However, a substantial number of the calls received (up to 50%), are coming from individuals, not seeking help, but rather wishing to volunteer to help with the response effort, and these callers are redirected to the local volunteer centre.

“What might be perceived as a low uptake level overall for the service over the past week, does however suggest that good neighbourhood, community and family supports are in place across the county, thereby reducing the numbers in need of assistance via the helpline, and this is a testament to the tremendous community spirit in play at this difficult time,” says the council.

The Council says the new Community Call has marshalled volunteering energy and is being overseen by the Chief Executive, John Mulholland, who is leading a dedicated Community Support Response Forum which includes many voluntary and State organisations providing supports and services.

See also the Laois PPN website www.laoisppn.ie for a map of supports provided by groups in and around Laois.