Awards celebrate local woman's work to 'alleviate loneliness and isolation' in elderly

Awards celebrate local woman's work to 'alleviate loneliness and isolation' in elderly

Phil Goodman of Douglas Young at Heart with Gardai Marie O'Neill and Damien Desmond enjoying socially-distant tea and cakes as the efforts of community groups were marked this week by Cork City Council. Pic; Larry Cummins.

The Lord Mayor’s Community and Voluntary Awards 2021 have recognised the work of the city’s Covid Heroes who stepped up to help those most in need during what has been a difficult year for all.

The awards recognise the work of the voluntary organisations that continued to provide services throughout the city during the pandemic under the umbrella of the Cork City Community Response Forum.

Taking home the Lord Mayor’s Community and Voluntary Award 2021 in the Advocacy category was Young at Heart – Douglas Seniors.

Established over 20 years ago, the main aim of the organisation is to alleviate loneliness and isolation among the elderly in Douglas and the surrounding area.

Founder Phil Goodman said that throughout Covid-19, her aim was to reach out to as many people in the community as possible and to provide them with skills and services to continue to live a fulfilling life.

We want people to know that there’s no need to feel isolated or alone.

She said that the Care-Call service which runs twice weekly by 10 trained and vetted volunteers has been “a huge help to people and very rewarding for the volunteers”.

Prior to Covid-19, the volunteers called around 150 people each week and are now calling 310 people each week.

Phil Goodman, founder, Young at Heart Douglas Seniors, Cork. Picture Denis Minihane.
Phil Goodman, founder, Young at Heart Douglas Seniors, Cork. Picture Denis Minihane.

The organization is also the designated group in Douglas to deliver food parcels as part of the Fund for European Aid to the Most Deprived (FEAD) initiative, something she said she “could not do without the help of the gardaí who were absolutely outstanding”.

The community gardaí in Douglas, Togher, Carrigaline, and Blackrock. I packed but they delivered the 80 to 90 parcels each week and I have to give special thanks to Sergeant Mick O’Connell in Anglesea Street, he was the guiding light, he was fantastic.

Ms Goodman also partnered with the school of Applied Psychology at UCC to run the eight-week ‘Step up to your Health’ initiative, encouraging people to track their steps as a means to keep them active.

She said that everyone involved in the running of the organisation is “delighted and honoured to receive the award” and that it was “great” to have their work recognised.

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