Longford County Council is preparing to step up to the plate and lead the county through the coronavirus emergency by putting in place a Covid-19 Community Response Forum.
Minister Eoghan Murphy called on Local Authorities for each city and county to hold emergency forum meetings yesterday with local groups and supports such as the HSE, An Post, An Garda Síochána, etc, to put in place a confidential community support helpline, which will be in place from tomorrow (Monday).
“There are a number of agencies currently doing excellent work in delivering care to older and vulnerable people in our communities," said Cathaoirleach of Longford County Council Micheál Carrigy.
"These groups are currently operating independently of each other and Longford 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."
The dedicated community support helpline will be established in Longford 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 new Covid-19 Longford Community Response Forum, will include 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 coordinated community response and to enable all voluntary statutory agencies to collaborate in support of our communities and particularly of our most vulnerable members.
"Longford County Council is ideally placed both statutorily and regionally to channel this great work and provide the governance structure in partnership with all stakeholders," said Chief Executive of Longford County Council, Paddy Mahon.
"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.
"Set to come into effect from Monday, March 30, Longford County Council is providing a dedicated, free contact number with the lines open from 9am to 5pm seven days a week."
Included in the Covid-19 Longford Community Response Forum are:
- Longford County Council
- Health Service Executive
- An Garda Síochána
- Age Friendly Alliance
- An Post
- Community Champion
- Community Welfare Service, Dept. of Employment Affairs and Social Protection
- Irish Farmers’ Association, Longford
- Local Link
- Longford Civil Defence
- Longford Community Resources clg
- Longford GAA County Board
- Longford Public Participation Network (PPN representing over 400 voluntary and community groups in County Longford)
- Longford PPN Intercultural Forum
- Longford Sports Partnership
- Longford Volunteer Centre
- Longford Womens Link
Many other community, voluntary, religious and sporting organisations, as well as businesses and individuals, are actively involved in the community support effort throughout Longford.
The new phoneline 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.
Longford 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.
The Community Support helpline can also be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Contact details of this new service will be promoted on www.longfordcoco.ie, Facebook, Twitter and through local media. 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.