Cork man involved in setting up Covid-19 national community response helpline

Cork man involved in setting up Covid-19 national community response helpline

A NATIONAL support helpline has been launched to support people in communities who have been affected by Covid-19.

Covid Community Response has been acting to bring communities together by collaborating with individuals and organisations and coordinating volunteers around the country to assist those most in need.

The response team was set up by Cork man Danny O’Donovan and Galway man Séamus Ó Fátharta with the aim to help coordinate ongoing national and local community initiatives in the fight against Covid-19, standardising communication and campaigns, as well as sharing resources.

Danny O'Donovan of QuickMinutes.comIGNITE programme, UCCPic: Brian Lougheed
Danny O'Donovan of QuickMinutes.comIGNITE programme, UCCPic: Brian Lougheed

The launch of the helpline text and call numbers proved popular within the first day of inception with a “mix of people looking for support and advice on different things”.

Managing Partner of Óvis Media and spokesperson for Covid Community Response, Séamus Ó Fátharta, said that there are about seven people involved in the building of the backend of the helpline but there are over 900 volunteers who have registered and are available around the country.

Covid Community Response
Covid Community Response

Speaking to The Echo, Mr Ó Fátharta said: “Basically, requests come in, all around community stuff so it might be someone in need of groceries, or a prescription picked up or medicine, whatever it may be.

“What we do is coordinate it to different groups working around the country that actively run charities such as Alone and Aid Action. A lot of TA clubs and local Tidy Towns as well are doing deliveries and stuff like that.” He said that the response team wanted to have both text and call numbers to cater for both younger and older people in need.

“Our core audience is an elderly age group and that’s why the focus is put on having a call number for people to call in, and obviously the text number then is for people our own age who probably prefer to text than they would to call in so it’s kind of a different line for everyone.

“Also if you’re in solation, and why we added the call line as well, we wanted to be sure that it’s not automated, we wanted it to be very personale driven because sometimes if you are in isolation the best thing for you is to have a chat with someone while you’re trying to get your groceries can make an awful difference.

“That human element of contact is really important just for the mentality side of things too,” he said.

Knocknaheeny native and MD of QuickMinutes.com, Danny O'Donovan, said: “Our helpline is a very big step forward. We have managed to set up a professional helpline operated entirely by volunteers. As we know, many communities are doing extraordinary work around the country, and we are just adding to this by creating a coordinated system to make sure nobody is without support.” Members of the public seeking assistance can contact the Covid Community Response helpline via text to 086 180 0256 or phone 021 237 7809. The helpline is available between 9am and 9pm.

Volunteers can register at any time on the website at https://covidcommunityresponse.ie/.

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