It’s the last line of defence. There is — and always has been — an awful lot of good work and voluntary work being done at community level, right across the city and county
The outpouring of support from people in Kilkenny, and willingness to help out is overwhelming.
The council’s Covid-19 Response Team continues to meet regularly, liaising with public health and other agencies to oversee Kilkenny’s response to the crisis.
Chief Executive of Kilkenny County Council Colette Byrne, who is coordinating matters, says that the community response so far has been great. If people wish to volunteer, they can still do so with Volunteer Ireland, where currently, it’s the Carlow volunteer centre who are managing Kilkenny until a volunteer centre is established here.
“The volunteer centre then will be in touch with existing projects who for whatever reason may be running short of volunteers, or maybe some of their volunteers are cocooning as well,” says Ms Byrne (pictured above).
“I know one particular charity who is really looking for people at the moment would be the Cancer Society, who need drivers. To bring people who are getting treatment, etcetera for appointments. Some of their existing drivers are probably people who are now cocooning themselves. So, there is plenty of opportunity there if people do want to step up to the mark and take on a little bit of volunteering.”
Those who contact the volunteer centre in Carlow will get the garda vetting done, and be ready quickly to help out.
The Kilkenny community helpline is dealing with between 20 and 50 calls a day, varying in terms of need.
“The forum is what I’d call the fullback,” says Ms Byrne.
“It’s the last line of defence. There is — and always has been — an awful lot of good work and voluntary work being done at community level, right across the city and county. When that’s there and it is working, most people are able to get what they want through contacts and local people. We all know there’s a lot more people out there now who have taken on that role, whether it’s the GAA, people looking after neighbours, whatever it is.
“The calls we tend to get are the people who don’t have that support. They are maybe healthy, 70 year olds now cocooning, and have no family around to assist them with some of the basic things.”
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