Suzanne O'Connor works on Laois County Council's Covid-19 Community Response Support helpline
The Government Plan for Living with COVID-19: Resilience and Recovery 2020-2021 has highlighted the important role that individual and community resilience will play in contributing to our ongoing response to COVID-19, according to Laois County Council.
As a response to this, the council says the ‘Keep Well’ Community Resilience campaign was launched and at the heart of the campaign is helping people - individuals & communities - to keep up their resilience & wellbeing through an especially challenging winter and through to spring.
The council says that one of the key services for individuals and communities was facilitated by the local authority during COVID-19 is the Community Response Support helpline.
It was established by the Laois council in March 2020 and continues to operate 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 COVID19.
The helpline 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.
Laois County Council gave an update on who it has worked out.
"To date, the helpline has received 754 calls. At the outset, a significant level of calls came from individuals, not seeking help, but rather wishing to volunteer to help with the community response effort and were redirected to the relevant support agency.
"Users of the helpline service include vulnerable individuals seeking collection/delivery of groceries, medicines, and/or fuel, or individuals who may be 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, a national organisation supporting people over 60 years of age. Other calls for assistance are referred on to the appropriate agencies e.g. HSE, An Garda Siochana etc.
"While the current volume of calls received is relatively low, this is indicative of the resilience that has been built up over the last year and suggests that good neighbourhood, community and family supports are now in place across the county, thereby reducing the numbers in need of assistance via the helpline. This is a testament to the tremendous community spirit in play at this difficult time," said a statement.
Laois County Council says the Community Response Support Helpline can be accessed Monday to Friday, between the hours of 9am and 5pm, via the Council’s main number 057 866 4000, by calling 1800 832 010 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
It adds that 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