Offaly County Council takes the lead in joining together local organisations to assist citizens during Covid-19
Dedicated Offaly Community Support helpline 1800-818181 available
At the instigation of Minister Murphy a Covid-19 Community Response Forum will be put in place for each City/County and co-ordinated by the Local Authority in each case.
A dedicated community support helpline will be established in Offaly County Council to assist at risk members of the public in accessing non-emergency and non-medical supports and advice during the current public health emergency. The confidential free phone line service 1800-818181 and email email@example.com is being established by the new COVID-19 Offaly Community Response Forum, which includes over a dozen agencies and organisations. The helpline is focused primarily on ensuring that vulnerable members of the community or those living alone can access deliveries of groceries, medicine and fuels. The role of the Forum is to ensure that there is a co-ordinated community response and to enable all voluntary statutory agencies to collaborate in support of our communities and particularly of our most vulnerable members.
Included in the COVID-19 Offaly Community Response Forum are:
- Offaly County Council
- Health Service Executive
- An Garda Síochána
- Offaly Local Development Company
- Offaly PPN
- Offaly Age Friendly Alliance
- Civil Defense
- Offaly Volunteer Centre
- Offaly GAA
- Local Link Laois Offaly
- An Post
- Irish Farmers Association
- Citizens Information Service
- Other community, voluntary and sports representatives
The new phone line 1800-818181 is just one aspect of the Forum’s work. Its core aim is contributing to the community-wide effort to limit the spread of COVID-19. Offaly County Council, through this group, will ensure that the wide variety of groups working across the county to assist those in need, will do so in an organised, collaborative and targeted way. The Council’s COVID-19 Community Response Forum is there to ensure the very best use of the many resources assisting vulnerable persons with their daily needs at this unprecedented time, whether that is collecting medication, food shopping, social support and contact.
Chief Executive of Offaly County Council, Anna Marie Delaney explains “There are a number of agencies currently doing excellent work in delivering care to older and vulnerable people in our communities. These groups are currently operating independently of each other and Offaly County Council’s role is to provide a targeted, integrated and coordinated approach to the delivery of these much needed services to our more vulnerable citizens across the County during the COVID-19 pandemic. Offaly County Councilis ideally placed both statutorily and regionally to channel this great work and provide the governance structure in partnership with all stakeholders. This public health crisis has changed life for so many, and we are there to help with that change. Our own staff whose day-jobs have changed due to this crisis, will be a key resource in the management and operation of this community support programme along with our partner agencies/groups. Coming into effect on Monday 30th March,Offaly County Councilis providing a dedicated FREE contact number 1800-818181 with the lines open from 9am to 5pm seven days a week.”.
Contact details of this new service phone 1800-818181 and email firstname.lastname@example.org will be promoted on www.offaly.ie and on social media such as Facebook and Twitter. An information leaflet including the new freephone number and other information will be distributed around the county, particularly to vulnerable households, over the coming days.
Cathaoirleach Peter Ormond with a message on the Covid 19 Community Response Forum
Press Release 31st March 2020 5pm
Michael Duignan - County Champion
Chairperson of Offaly County Council, Cllr. Peter Ormond, has welcomed the nomination of Michael Duignan, Offaly GAA County Board Chairman, as ‘County Champion’ on the County Council co-ordinated Community Response Forum. The Forum, which was established last weekend, allows all of the community and agency responders already actively supporting vulnerable households in the current crisis to co-ordinate their efforts. Michael was nominated as County Champion by The Wheel and Irish Rural Link as an individual with strong existing links within Offaly and broad experience of engaging with community organisations and volunteers who are already in contact with the people who may need support.
Speaking today, Cllr. Ormond said that the first meeting of the Forum held remotely on Monday was a reflection of the best of everything about the Faithful people. Every agency and group that spoke at the meeting detailed their work on the ground over the years and how they have adapted in the context of the COVID 19 crisis to meet the needs of older people in particular. This is especially important since people over 70 are now being asked to cocoon at home and may need help with deliveries of food, fuel or medicine. ‘The great thing about the Forum’, he said, ‘is that groups can share learning and resources and coordinate their efforts to best effect’. Participants at the first meeting included Offaly County Council, the HSE, An Garda Síochána, Offaly Local Development, the Volunteer Centre, Local Link, Civil Defence, the Public Participation Network, Age Friendly Network and the GAA.
Michael Duignan said that all of the 41 GAA clubs in Offaly had already made local contacts, drafted a list of those who may need help and were acting on that. He said that in towns, villages and rural areas around Offaly people were looking out for each other and getting organised to make sure everyone who needed help could get it. He welcomed the establishment of the Community Response Forum by Offaly County Council where groups could co-operate, share good practice and find solutions to issues that they were all facing. He also welcomed the new Freephone number 1800-818181 and email address email@example.com and said he didn’t pick the ’81 phone number but he thought it was a good choice. The Offaly Community Response Forum meets again this Friday to review progress to date and plan for the coming week.