Irish Rural link welcome the commitments in the Programme For Government to rural communities. We need to learn from the positive aspects of the Covid pandemic and build on these for e.g. the advantages of remote working, the value of rural volunteering and the value of such services as meals on wheels and other essential community health and social services.
Irish Rural Link are inviting you to join them in a series of conversations around COVID-19 and Lessons for Rural Communities. Covid-19 has completely turned all our lives upside down. Words like cocooning, social distance, remote working are among the many now in common use. Indeed, without asking for it we find that we are living through one of the great social experiments of all times.
In rural communities the changes are profound. More people are at home. Some are cocooning or in isolation, some are there because they have lost their job or are working from home. As a consequence, rural shops are thriving, neighbours are getting to know each other and many people have volunteered as part of the Community response call to reach out to people who need help. So what are learning from this unwanted experiment and can we reimagine a different rural Ireland as a result of this experience? What will Europe do for rural communities and what should we be saying to rural areas.?
Access to these conversations is free. However, in order to receive your personal link, you must register using the ‘Register Here’ link at the bottom of the page.
This series of conversations will address learnings in the form of:
- Remote working;
- Providing care services;
- Shopping in the local village;
- Social & Rural enterprises;
- Health and well-being;
A conversation with MEP Mairead McGuinness and Andrew Forde (DRCD)
Week One in the series featured a conversation with Irish Rural Link’s CEO Seamus Boland, Mairead McGuinness and Andrew Forde from the Department of Rural and Community. Please view the full conversation below
The Midlands Regional Transition Team (MRTT) is collating proposals for projects which can assist a positive transition from peat harvesting and power generation, while looking at opportunities to build strong resilient communities in areas which have been most affected by significant job losses. This discussion will consider the nature and spread of potential projects and the many collaboration opportunities across the Midlands and beyond and panellists will provide guidance to stakeholders who are considering submitting proposals before the June 12th deadline.
These are uncertain times for the wider Midlands, Ireland and the EU as communities address the process of decarbonisation, climate change and come to terms with the social and economic impact of the Covid-19 outbreak.
Week 3 – The Challenges and Opportunities of Remote Working
Covid-19 has had a devastating effect on businesses, many were forced to close while others had to quickly adapt to the changing environment. Remote working has become the norm which brings challenges for both employer and employees. As the economy starts to reopen, we explore if more businesses will embrace this opportunity to support their employees to work remotely and if so what supports are needed to assist business?
This webinar will discuss the challenges and opportunities of remote working for rural communities and businesses, exploring the policy and supports required. The absence of commuting allows people to spend more time with family and friends, potentially an opportunity to become more involved in their communities. What implications could this have on the social and economic fabric of rural communities in particular? The supply of high speed broadband remains one of the biggest challenges for remote working in rural areas, is there short term solutions that can be introduced, are digital hubs the answer?
Week 4 – The Challenges and Opportunities for the Tourism and Hospitality Sectors Post Covid-19
Thousands of people remain out of work as we await the reopening of our hospitality sector. Tourism is among the most important elements of the Irish economy, employing more than 300,000 people and generating billions of euro in revenue, almost €2 billion each year.Many SME’s, food producers, amenity operators and ancillary businesses rely on a thriving tourism industry to survive. Last week, Fáilte Ireland produced a set of guidelines to assist those in the sector to safely re-open the tourism and hospitality sector by June 29th. This webinar will discuss what the reopening entails, the implications for the businesses and their customers along with the emerging business opportunities in tourism across rural Ireland.
Week 5 – The Future of Community and Rural Development Post Covid-19
The COVID19 global pandemic has shown us the power of people and community in dealing with the challenges which emerged. Rural and community development has long relied on volunteerism to drive change and to improve the quality of life and wellbeing of communities.. During COVID19, volunteers were at the frontline across communities in the delivery of all services from practical and social supports to mental health and well-being. As the country re-opens on a phased basis, what exactly does these mean for communities going forward? Will the “new-norm” see more volunteers involved in creating more resilient communities or how can this good-will that currently exists be captured to drive rural and community development going forward?
Week 6 – In conversation with Irish Rural Link – Rural Health and Wellbeing Post Covid-19
When society evaluates wellbeing, it generally considers good physical and mental health but it can also describe the conditions needed as individuals and communities to have a better quality of life, healthier environment and increased prosperity. This webinar will discuss the implication of the Covid-19 pandemic on rural physical and mental health services and what lessons can be learned to improve quality of life of rural communities. As lockdown restriction ease across the country, all sectors begin to evaluation its immediate and long term impacts. There has been an increase demand placed on services such as counselling, befriending, meals on wheels, rural GPs, youth recreational. How do these service providers meet the demand with limited resources?
Irish Rural Link are encouraging all those who have an interest in exploring and shaping future rural health and wellbeing post Covid-19, to join us in conversation on Thursday 2nd July from 10am to 11 am.
Register in advance for this webinar:
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.
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.