Local authority-led Covid-19 community response forums are being established around the country. The forums will work to ensure that vulnerable people are supported by coordinating a community response to the crisis and facilitating the collaboration of voluntary statutory agencies.
The local government minister Eoghan Murphy instigated the initiative last weekend on foot of the Taoiseach’s announcement of further restrictions on movement.
The forums will coordinate the collection and delivery of food, essential household items, fuel and medication; assist with transport for medical reasons; engage with those who are socially isolated, amongst other supports.
Fórsa’s north-east official Eimear Ryan has been in contact with various local authorities about their work to ensure the smooth running of this new service.
“County councils immediately mobilised all relevant staff and some worked through the weekend to ensure the community/coordination hub element was ready to go live on Monday morning.
Fórsa members around the country have adapted, where necessary, to ensure the provision of this vital service and communities are already benefiting from their efforts.
“Staff have been redeployed from the majority of sections to ensure adequate resources for the new facility, and have very positively engaged with the process so far.
“Fórsa members around the country have adapted, where necessary, to ensure the provision of this vital service and communities are already benefiting from their efforts,” she said.
Monaghan’s community response forum is one example. It features over a dozen different bodies including the county council, the HSE, An Post, An Garda Síochána, the Red Cross, Age Friendly Network, Alone and a migrant forum.
Monaghan County Council chief executive Eamonn O’Sullivan said the aim was to centralise the excellent work already being done independently in the community.
“It is Monaghan County Council’s role to provide a targeted, integrated and coordinated approach to the delivery of these much-needed services to our more vulnerable citizens across the county,” he said.
Mr O’Sullivan also commended the local authority staff whose jobs have temporarily changed during the crisis and said they’re a “key resource in the management and operation of this community support programme.”
There are different phone numbers for each community response forum that operate seven days a week and can be found on respective local authority websites.