At the instigation of Minister Murphy, a Covid-19 Community Response Forum will be put in place for each City/County and this will be co-ordinated by the Local Authority in each case.
A dedicated community support helpline (Freephone 1800 805 816) has been established by Westmeath 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 Westmeath 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 co-ordinated community response and to enable all voluntary statutory agencies to collaborate in support of our communities and particularly of our most vulnerable members.
While the membership will grow over time, the following are the current members of the COVID-19 Westmeath Community Response Forum:
• Westmeath County Council
• Health Service Executive
• An Garda Síochána
• Department of Social Protection
• An Post
• Westmeath Community Development
• Public Participation Network
• Westmeath Civil Defence
• Age Friendly Network
• Local Link Westmeath
• Irish Rural Link
• Age Friendly Alliance
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.
Westmeath County Council, through this group, will ensure that the wide variety of groups working across the county 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 Westmeath County Council, Pat Gallagher 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 Westmeath County Council’s role is to provide a targeted, integrated and coordinated approach to the delivery of these much needed services to our more vulnerable citizens across the county during the COVID-19 pandemic. Westmeath County 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, Westmeath County Council is providing a dedicated free contact number 1800 805 816 with the lines open from 9am to 5pm, seven days a week.”
Contact details of this new service will be promoted on the Council website – www.westmeathcoco.ie. An information leaflet including the new freephone number and other information will be distributed around the county, particularly to vulnerable households, over the coming days.
Content Last Updated/Reviewed: 30/03/2020