27 April 2020
By Bryan Smyth
Community spirit is burning bright in Ballyphehane with local community and voluntary groups working within the newly-established Cork City Community Response Forum (CRF) to match local needs during Covid-19 with local services.
Ballyphehane /Togher CDP is making twice weekly ‘check in’ phone calls to up to 160 older people, people with disabilities and to families who normally use their early year services. Staff from their community creche, An Cliabhán have also dropped games and books to these local families to help counter ‘cabin fever’. The CDP is also running online yoga classes via what’s app so that vulnerable people can remain active, yet stay at home.
They are also distributing up to 30 food boxes a week, made up of fresh and dry food, to local individuals and families. Furthermore, Meals on Wheels at Ballyphehane Community Centre continues to deliver hot food to the homes of scores of older people every day.
Ballyphehane Ladies GAA is linking up with Ryan’s Super Valu in Togher to make grocery deliveries while Centra in Togher and Ballyphehane has also worked with local groups to overcome the challenges facing vulnerable people.
Across Ballyphehane, prescriptions are being collected regularly from local chemists, dogs walked for people who can’t leave their homes and pensions collected by members of the CRF. Callers to the helpline are also being referred on to the HSE if they are concerned about healthcare needs such as podiatry.
Calls to the CRF helpline included one from a woman who was cocooning in Turners Cross and needed electrical help while another person needed a window fixed. Both were worried about the risk of allowing some in their home. The CRF stepped in to provide these vital repair services while ensuring public health requirements were met. Other calls included one from a man who was cocooning alone and had difficulty getting regular milk and fresh bread deliveries.
Cork City Council CRF lead in Ballyphehane, Geraldine Sutton said: “We’re seeing all the local organisations and services working really well together to meet local needs – with help now being given to meet ongoing needs”.
Cork City CRF Champion and Project Co-Ordinator at Ballyphehane/Togher CDP, Siobhán O’Dowd said: “We are all working for the most vulnerable at this time and we are asking people to make contact with us if they need help. It’s is heartening to see the whole of city wider response that the Covid-19 CRF has brought about”.
The CRF dedicated helpline is available from 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. seven days a week at 1800-222-226. Support can also be accessed via firstname.lastname@example.org. The phone line is just one aspect of the Forum’s work. Its core aim, as part of the Community Call, is contributing to the community-wide effort to limit the spread of COVID-19 by ensuring a coordinated community response. The Council’s COVID-19 CRF will work to ensure that local resources – including social care support and social contact – are targeted at the people who need them most.
Cork City has been broken into 16 local area teams with a Cork City Council community worker and HSE community worker in each area who will work with ‘local champions’ – namely the existing voluntary organisations and groups who know their locality and can help us to match need with service delivery. Each of the 16 local areas also has a link to Community Garda Services.