Longford Community Resources reached out to communities during Covid-19 pandemic

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LCRL

SICAP staff providing members of the public with information at the Job Fair which was held in the Temperance Hall in March of this year

2019 was deemed another successful year for Longford Community Resources CLG (LCRL) at its Annual General Meeting (AGM) which was held on Monday, July 13.

Unlike any previous AGM, the meeting was held at the offices of LCRL in Templemichael in compliance with Covid-19 social distancing requirements but also by video conferencing.

This meeting marked the stepping down of Charles Harrison, as Chairperson of the Board, having served six consecutive years.

Adrian Greene, CEO of LCRL, paid tribute to Charlie: “I would like to thank Charlie for his commitment and dedication in leading the organisation. I would also like to thank the Directors for their support and commitment throughout the year and the staff for their support, dedication and commitment to the company. I wish all Directors who have resigned the very best in the future. Without the Directors support and the staff’s commitment, the excellent work that LCRL undertakes with groups and individuals would not happen.”

Pat O’Rourke is taking over as the new Chairperson. Charlie, as outgoing Chairperson, complimented the CEO and staff for their trojan work and particularly during Covid-19 when they continued to work from their own homes to deliver quality services and support to both individuals and communities.

Charlie remarked, “The traditional approach taken by the organisation was adapted and instead of personal interaction and group meetings, the staff embraced video conferencing, phone calls and texting in order to continue to reach out to individuals and communities during the pandemic. The organisation established a local HSE registered Food Bank in association with Food Cloud, where food parcels are delivered to those most in need in the County with the support and collaboration of other local organisations such as Lús na Gréine FRC and Edgeworthstown District Development Association. It is great to see all these organisations working together for the benefit of the County.”

Charlie also thanked the Directors for their support to him as Chairperson and for their continued dedication to the Board. He acknowledged the effort put in by hardworking community groups and special issue groups whom LCRL staff work closely with.
Charlie continued, “LCRL has made a significant contribution to County Longford, from its support for infrastructure to community development, economic activity, employment supports and training. In addition, vulnerable groups such as lone parents, disadvantaged young people, people from ethnic minorities, older people and Travellers have been facilitated to have their voices and issues heard. Despite budget cuts and ever increasing paperwork and bureaucracy, LCRL staff continue to work with a large number of individuals and community groups to bring about positive change in the County.

“All of this would not be possible without the funding and support of many agencies and Departments including: Longford County Council, Longford LCDC, Department of Rural and Community Development, Department of Children and Youth Affairs, Longford Westmeath Education and Training Board, Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection, Health Service Executive, Youth Work Ireland and I would like to take this opportunity to thank them for their help, support and funding provided in order to make this work possible.”

New Chairperson, Pat O’Rourke, thanked the Board for his nomination and commended Charlie on his tenure as Chairperson, adding that he is looking forward to continuing the good work undertaken by his predecessor and the organisation as a whole.
Members also heard that the LEADER Programme has progressed well with 101 projects processed by LCRL and subsequently approved for grant assistance by Longford Local Community Development Committee (LCDC), with a total of €4,750,251.07 in grant approvals to date.

A further 9 project applications with a total grant value of €418,130.86 have been processed, evaluated and are pending LCDC decision.

In addition, LEADER staff are currently supporting 18 projects, with Expression of Interests’ submitted, to progress to full application.

Both the Rural Social Scheme (RSS) and Tús Initiative are continuing to provide positive and supportive roles for participants placed with communities across the county. The work supported includes: village and countryside enhancement, social care and care of the elderly, maintenance of walkways, energy conservation work for the elderly, environmental maintenance work, community administration/clerical duties.

In 2019, the RSS had 65 participants placed with 42 community groups and Tús had 188 participants on their payroll and had participants placed with 65 community groups in the county.

In 2019 under SICAP, to tackle poverty and social exclusion, LCRL staff worked with 19 groups and 379 individuals. 49 individuals progressed into self-employment and 62 individuals progressed into employment/placement.

To date in 2020, 12 groups and 211 individuals have been supported with 12 individuals progressing into self-employment and 5 individuals having progressed into employment/placement.

County Longford Youth Service (CLYS) worked with 766 young people in 2019.

CLYS staff are currently working with 14 groups of young people as well as carrying out detached work in Ballymahon, Edgeworthstown, Granard and Longford Town to meet young people where they are i.e. local estates, around the town, areas where they are prone to hang out together and this is used as a method for primary engagement with young people.

In the 2019/2020 academic school year, CLYS held bullying awareness programmes in both primary and post primary schools, peer mentoring programmes in post-primary schools and facilitated the Top Class (Alternative Education Programme).

In 2019, Longford Volunteer Centre registered 143 volunteers. The total number of volunteers registered at the end of 2019 was 823 with a volunteer placement rate of 81.47%. 16 organisations registered with Longford Volunteer Centre in 2019 and 80 volunteering opportunities were posted. 107 Garda vetting applications were processed on behalf of community groups and Longford Volunteer Centre had 19 nominations for the Volunteer Ireland Awards.

The Friendly Phone Call Service, saw a 40% increase in the number of individuals accessing the service, particularly as a result of Covid-19 when individuals experienced loneliness, anxiety and depression during self-isolation.

The Traveller Primary Health Care Project currently has over 300 individual clients on their database. In 2019 and 2020 the health promotion outreach continues to focus on three major campaigns: diabetes, heart health and mental health.

The project has also initiated a football programme which links Traveller men with men from Longford Direct Provision Centre.
If you wish to seek further information on any of the services LCRL provides, please contact the office at 043-3345555 or email enquiries@lcrl.ie

Updates on programmes and activities run by LCRL can be found on the LCRL website, Facebook and Twitter.