Dedicated community support helpline to be available from Monday
At the instigation of Minister Murphy a Covid-19 Community Response Forum will be put in place for each City and County and co-ordinated by the Local Authority in each case.
A dedicated community support helpline will be established in Waterford City and 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 confidential phoneline service is being established by the new COVID-19 Waterford Community Response Forum, which includes 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.
Included in the COVID-19 Waterford Community Response Forum will be:
- Waterford City and County Council
- Health Service Executive
- An Garda Síochána
- Waterford Area Partnership
- Waterford Leader Partnership
- Waterford Local Link
- Waterford Age Friendly Alliance
- Waterford Public Participation Network (PPN)
- Waterford GAA County Board
- An Post
- Other community, voluntary and sports representatives
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. Waterford City and County Council, through this group, will ensure that the wide variety of groups working across the county and city 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.
Chief Executive of Waterford City and County Council, Michael Walsh, explains “There are a number of agencies currently doing excellent work in delivering care to older and vulnerable people in our communities.These groups are currently operating independently of each other and our role in Waterford Council is to provide a targeted, integrated and coordinated approach to the delivery of these much needed services to our more vulnerable citizens across the City and County of Waterford during the COVID-19 pandemic. Waterford 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. Set to come into effect from Monday 30th March, we are providing a dedicated contact centre through our main contact number 0761 102020 with the lines open from 8:00am to 8:00pm seven days a week.”.
Contact details of this new service will be promoted on WLR, Waterford Council website www.waterfordcouncil.ie and our Twitter and Facebook pages. An information leaflet including the new freephone number and other information will be distributed around the city and county, particularly to vulnerable households, over the coming days.