Donegal third-level students help vulnerable people deal with the impact of Covid-19

Project aimed at mitigating the impacts of social distancing and cocooning for some of the most vulnerable members of the community

Donegal third-level students  help vulnerable people  deal with the impact of Covid-19

Jason Mulhern from Ballyshannon (left) and Brían McHugh from Ardara, third year 0ccupational therapy students at the launch of NUI Galway's Build-a-Box initiative

Two Donegal students at NUI Galway are taking part in a unique initiative during the Covid-19 pandemic by sending parcels to support people in high-risk groups and ease isolation. 

The Build-a-Box campaign is being run by the University’s occupational therapy students, in partnership with COPE Galway, Galway City Partnership and a Deis primary school in the Galway region.  

The charitable initiative was designed and brought to life by third-year undergraduates in the service-learning module Community Engagement, with the aim of mitigating isolation and the impacts of social distancing and cocooning for some of the most vulnerable members of the community. 

Around 100 boxes filled with items to reduce the negative effects of confinement are being delivered to older adults living alone, women in direct provision, homeless women and children with additional needs and in lower socio-economic groups. 

Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, President of NUI Galway, said: “In the context of ongoing clinical and academic demands we commend occupational therapy students for helping to reduce the impact of COVID-19 on some of the most vulnerable people in our society.” 

Dr Hazel Killeen, lecturer in NUI Galway’s College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, said: “In tough times, our students responded with great compassion to very vulnerable people in our community. They showed a willingness to overcome the barriers of organising all aspects of a very practical project through virtual means. This was more than a grade for them, they wanted to be part of the solution, and did so with heart.” 

Student Jason Mulhern, from Ballyshannon, said: “The Build-a-Box campaign opened my eyes to ways vulnerable groups were impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic, and it was rewarding to see how the boxes positively impacted on these groups.” 

Brían Mc Hugh from Ardara said: “The build-a-box campaign made a nice change in some people's lives during lockdown and this was a rewarding experience.” 

The Build-a-Box project is supported by funding from the Community Knowledge Initiative, NUI Galway, with the boxes provided by Carabay Packaging. 

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