Waterford’s Community Call – #TogetherWaterfordIsStronger
Following the Taoiseach’s March 12th announcement to close schools, colleges and cultural institutions, Waterford Council’s libraries closed their doors to their 21,408 customers. These were steps we all had to take, as the people of Ireland, to protect the most vulnerable and at risk members of our communities.
The closing of the doors, however, did not mean that library staff headed away to dust off the stock and to catalogue back editions … Instead the library staff of Waterford City and County Council rallied to the challenge and brought much of the library’s services online.
This initiative has resulted in a 94% increase in eBooks being borrowed, a 64% increase in eMagazine use and a 124% increase in engagement with the Library Service through social media. You can access the library service online at www.waterfordlibraries.ie and even if you’re not a library member, you can join on line and use all these services for free.
Staff from a number of departments of Waterford Council, including Libraries, Community and Information Services worked over the weekend following additional restrictions being announced on Friday 27th March to establish and organize Waterford’s Community Call Helpline.
The Helpline 1800 250 185 was ready to go on Monday 30th March and since that date, a team of 32 WCCC staff and 2 HSE staff have been covering 12 hours shifts from 8am – 8pm every day, including Saturdays, Sundays and the Easter weekend. The team has dealt with 480 calls since the Community Call Helpline started and they want to encourage people to call, call, call….. or email firstname.lastname@example.org
The Mayor of the City and County of Waterford, Cllr John Pratt said “I find the response to the Waterford Community Call to be heartwarming and shows us all how much we have to offer when our need is greatest. I am particularly encouraged by how much people are willing to help each other. It is by working together that we will stay stronger.”
No request is considered non-essential and there are huge numbers of community and voluntary groups and local organisations working in the background to make sure no-one is in need. 67 organisations have registered with the Community Call and these include everyone from the local GAA clubs to community organisations which came together specifically to address the needs of people in self isolation. Community Groups that haven’t yet registered can do so by going to the Council website www.waterfordcouncil.ie and clicking on “Register to Help”.
The Community Call Helpline team is responding to calls and emails about collection and delivery of groceries, medicines and prescriptions and they have information on services and supports available for people who are self isolating. They are also taking calls and receiving emails from people who want to volunteer and be involved in responding at a local and community level. Many people are making contact as they have no other form of social contact and the helpline can refer callers to Alone or the Call to Chat group if they just want to have a chat about what’s going on. HSE staff are on site to ensure people are linked into local support networks and services where a need is evident.
The contact details for the Community Call are 1800 250 185 or email email@example.com