Donegal Couonty Council is to lead out a Covid-19 Response Forum with the establishment of a dedicated community support helpline to be available from Monday.
This was announced tonight (Saturday) and comes about at the instigation of Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government, Eoghan Murphy.
It sees the establishment of a dedicated community support helpline in the 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 phone line service includes over twenty 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 Donegal Community Response Forum are:
- Donegal County Council
- Health Service Executive
- An Garda Síochána
- Community Welfare Service of DEASP
- Údarás na Gaeltachta
- Donegal Local Development Company
- Inishowen Development Partnership
- Donegal Local Volunteer Centre
- Red Cross - Donegal
- Civil Defence - Donegal
- Irish Farmers Association – Donegal
- Donegal GAA
- Age Friendly Alliance
- Public Participation Network
- Local Link – Donegal
- Citizens Information Service
- Donegal Travellers Project
- Intercultural Platform
- Religious leaders representing the Catholic Church, Church of Ireland and the Presbyterian Church
The new phone line 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.
Donegal Co 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.
The council's chief executive, Seamus Neely explains: “There are a number of agencies currently doing excellent work in delivering care to older and vulnerable people in our communities.
"The council’s role, through this Forum 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.
"Donegal Co Council is 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," he said.
Set to come into effect from Monday, March 30, Donegal Co Council is providing a dedicated free contact number [1800-928-982] and dedicated e-mail email@example.com available from 9am to 5pm.
Contact details of this new service will be promoted on the council’s website and social media channels. Their partner organisations will also be asked to promote the availability of this service.
An information leaflet including the new freephone number and other information will be distributed around the county/city, particularly to vulnerable households, over the coming days.
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