Since 30th March, Longford County Council’s Community Call helpline has been operational, helping at-risk members of the public in accessing non-emergency and non-medical supports and advice during the current public health emergency.
This confidential phoneline service was established by the new COVID-19 Longford Community Response Forum and focuses primarily on ensuring that vulnerable members of the community or those living alone can access deliveries of groceries, medicine and fuels.
To date the helpline has been contacted over 230 times. The helpline operates from 9:00am to 5:00pm, seven days a week, and can be contacted by phone on 043 3344255 or 1800 300 122 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Reflecting the strength of volunteerism and community spirit in Longford, the helpline has also received numerous offers of help and support from individuals, groups and organisations.
Over the past four weeks, the COVID-19 Longford Community Response Forum has met, by tele and video conference, to review the operation of the helpline, ensure that there is a co-ordinated community response and enable all voluntary and statutory agencies to collaborate in support of our communities and our most vulnerable citizens. The Forum’s focus is now expanding from the provision of practical assistance to supporting individual and community wellbeing.
Ciaran Murphy, Senior Executive Officer, Community Development, is responsible for overseeing the operation of the Community Call helpdesk. He outlined the type of calls received by the Community Call team which includes requests for the collection of shopping and prescriptions and guidance on who to contact in relation to a range of other supports.
Ciaran explained that, while Longford County Council is currently responsible for co-ordinating practical supports, ALONE is a key partner in the COVID-19 Longford Community Response Forum and the Local Authority is working jointly with them to provide support to those who need it. ALONE provides supports for older people in relation to physical and mental health, housing, isolation and loneliness. They are operating a daily telephone service that will call older people who would like daily contact and reassurance. ALONE can also identify, through these calls, any additional needs that may emerge for people. ALONE can be contacted on 0818 222 024.