9k calls about everything from medical needs to library books; how communities in Cork cared for each other during Covid 

The multi agency forum, which was set up at the outset of the pandemic in March 2020, involved 27 agencies working in collaboration and leading the local response to the pandemic.
9k calls about everything from medical needs to library books; how communities in Cork cared for each other during Covid 

The Carrigaline & Rural Environs Team (pictured) was one of many operating under the umbrella of the Community Call to look after the needs of vulnerable members of the local community. Picture: Brian Lougheed

Almost 9,000 requests have been received by the Cork County Council Covid-19 Community Call helpline since it was set up at the outset of Covid in 2020.

The community call initiative worked with 19 community support hubs which played a key role in everything from collection and delivery of groceries to the delivery of books to the housebound.

Director of Service Niall Healy said the multi agency forum, which was set up at the outset of the pandemic in March 2020, involved 27 agencies working in collaboration and leading the local response to the pandemic.

Support in a range of areas 

Mr Healy said that after 45 meetings over 20 months most of the work has been done and delivered.

Looking back at the figures, Mr Healy said it was clear the Community Call had been a great assistance to people.

There were 8,728 requests, broken down to 5,495 library requests, 666 collection and delivery of groceries, 396 volunteer help requests, 171 medical and health needs, 145 calls about social isolation and 68 calls about getting meals delivered.

Mr Healy said the helpline is still available but is now fixed to working hours and weekdays.

Help for businesses

The Director of Services said the Local Authority also worked with local communities and businesses to ensure they were helped to get back up and running.

“Project ACT was a collaboration between officials, elected members and business and community associations and gardaí," Mr Healy said. “It focused on the towns' presentation and business supports, as well as getting the hospitality sector back up and running this year.” 

Extra services in recreation areas 

Mr Healy said there was a very strong focus on outdoor recreation areas like parks and beaches, with additional services and facilities like cleaning and portaloos being made available.

In terms of the hospitality sector, Mr Healy said there was an emphasis placed on outdoor seating, dining and canopies and for towns and villages, there was a lot of resources dedicated to painting schemes, which Mr Healy said had proven “highly impactful” in recent years.

As well as this financial assistance was given to community and voluntary organisations with a total of €1.65m allocated to 537 community groups in 2021.

These figures were presented at a recent meeting held online between public representatives, members of the public, An Garda Siochana and Cork County Council.

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