In his statement President Michael D.Higgins sincerely thanked all of the Champions and volunteers who have been involved in the Community Outreach Programme for making themselves available to give a helping hand to those who need it now, at this difficult time. The full statement is available to read here
What is COVID-19 Community Outreach?
COVID-19 Community Outreach (CCO) is a national response to the societal impact of the coronavirus outbreak, coordinated by The Wheel and Irish Rural Link, and funded by the Department of Rural and Community Development.
It seeks to ensure that vulnerable demographics across Ireland — such as older people, people with long-term medical conditions, and people with additional needs — have access to the highest quality information and support while helping to ease pressure on state services.
How does it work?
CCO will link and support the thousands of community groups across Ireland who are already working to support the most vulnerable people in our communities.
CCO engages a network of Community Champions across every county in Ireland. These individuals already have strong links within their local communities, existing experience of working with volunteers and community and local organisations, and are already in contact with the people that the programme seeks to reach.
Community Champions work with local community groups to:
- Disseminate accurate information quickly throughout their local area, with a particular emphasis on hard-to-reach, vulnerable audiences;
- Connect existing community and volunteer efforts, in relation to ensuring safe and effective non-medical services;
- Identify emerging gaps in community services, communicate them promptly to local organisations as relevant (statutory or community-based), and, where necessary, to the National Coordination Team; and
- Liaise with relevant regional services to ensure that people recovering at home or returning from hospital receive necessary social supports.
Find out how COVID-19 Community Outreach can help you
Impact of COVID-19 Community Outreach Programme
From 31 March 2020 – 19 June 2020
Additional Key Impact Figures
|Number of times Community Champion contacted for support (call, text, email)||6,832|
|Number of supports given||30,499|
|Number of supports given on School Meals Programme||3,197|
|Social and traditional media reach (inc. local newspapers, newsletters, local radio)||2,543,838|
CCO Community Map
Use the CCO map below to located CCO Community Champions across Ireland, as well as local non-profits participating in the initiative.
Irish Rural Link are urging people to heed the new measures announced by An Taoiseach this evening, 27th March and to stay at home and asking neighbours of elderly and vulnerable people to phone them and ensure they are safe. Full press statement here
The Government announced yesterday, 24th March, new measures in relation to going outdoors during COVID-19 pandemic. Due to overcrowding of public parks, beaches, popular walking sites, playgrounds, many of these are now closed or there is an increase presence of Park Rangers and Gardai at these sites. It is still important to get out during self isolation, for both physical and mental health, but we must take responsibility for our own safety and the safety of others and maintain the recommended 2 metre distance from others. Leave No Trace have developed a set of guidelines to help people to get out and enjoy the outdoors while maintaining social distance. These include;
Plan Ahead – Check weather, bring proper clothing and footwear, water and food. Park and walk responsibly.
Expect Closures – Before leaving home, consider lack of usual facilities such as toilets, shops, cafes, restaurants.
Stay Home or Local – Unwell? Don’t go! Feeling well? Look for local trails, hidden gems, explore closer to home.
Be Considerate: Maintain social distancing throughout the day – at least 2 metres apart. There is plenty of space in the outdoors for everyone!
Time and Place: Find those hidden gems, avoid peak times, avoid difficult routes. Adhere to HSE guidelines.
Leave No Trace: Don’t rely on or add to already overburdened services. Bring your own rubbish home.
Be Dog Responsible: Keep dogs under control. Mind out for young wildlife. Pick up and bring home dog waste.
The Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection announced yesterday, 24th March, new rates of social welfare payments for those impacted by COVID-19. These include;
- a temporary wage subsidy of 70% of take home pay up to a maximum weekly tax free amount of €410 per week to help affected companies keep paying their employees. This is the equivalent of €500 per week before tax
- workers who have lost their jobs due to the crisis will receive an enhanced emergency COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment of €350 per week (an increase from €203) If you have already applied before the 24th of March or are already in receipt of the Pandemic Unemployment Payment you do not need to do anything. Your next payment will be paid at the increased rate.
- the COVID-19 illness payment will also be increased to €350 per week
- the self-employed will be eligible for the COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment of €350 directly from the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection (rather than the Revenue scheme)
- enhanced protections for people facing difficulties with their mortgages, rent or utility bills
The Department’s COVID-19 Income Support Helpline is open 9am-5pm on 01-2481398/1890-800-024. Please DO NOT visit your local Intreo Office
The Department of Social Protection have made special arrangements for Social Welfare Payments including State Pension during the COVID-19 outbreak. Some of these include:
– Post Office Payments will be available for collection for 90 days.
– Weekly payments will change to fortnightly from this week. You will receive 1 payment to cover 2 weeks.
– You can appoint a temporary agent to collect your weekly payment. Forms are available at some post offices or you can download here
The temporary agent must bring the form to the Post Office signed by the welfare recipient with the person’s Public Service Card and a form of ID. A form must be signed each time the agent collects on behalf of someone.
– All signing at Intreo offices has been suspended.
Full information is available on Departments website on https://www.gov.ie/en/organisation/department-of-employment-affairs-and-social-protection/?referrer=/deasp/