Together, we can stay connected, reduce loneliness and get through COVID-19
In response to the social isolation so many people are currently experiencing, across the county and the country, all the partners in Kildare Covid-19 Community Response Forum are calling on neighbours, friends and community groups to “Keep Kildare Talking” and together, reduce the feeling of loneliness.
“Many people feel cut-off from family and friends at this time, but just remembering to take the time to talk to one another can make a huge difference”, said Conor O’Leary, Community Champion for Co. Kildare as part of the national Covid-19 Community Outreach (CCO) initiative.
Over the last number of weeks, community groups, neighbours and friends have come together to support each other in countless ways across the county. This has included delivering food and groceries, collecting prescriptions, and checking in with our neighbours and friends to see if they need anything. But whilst this support is invaluable, a recent report compiled in association with Maynooth University, highlighted that 41% of people are feeling lonely at this time so we need to consider what else we can do. Full report can be found at https://bit.ly/2VNQ0yc
Family members, neighbours and friends can play a big part in helping to reduce the loneliness that may come with social isolation. Whilst, it is important that we adhere to the guidelines on physical distancing and staying apart, we can still find ways to stay connected. This can include talking to people in their gardens, from a safe distance, regular phone calls and exploring the use of online technology including video calling.
The Chair of the Kildare Covid-19 Community Response Forum Mr. Peter Carey CE Kildare County Council says that “it is important to support each other at this very difficult time. People should take the time to talk and be in contact with others, especially those who are feeling lonely, while at the same time adhering to Covid 19 restrictions.”
Community groups can play a vital role in doing this by reaching out, as those who are particularly lonely and isolated may be reluctant to ask for help. “Many community groups have proactively identified people who need to cocoon or self-isolate at this time and already helped them with deliveries of groceries and medicine however, what they mightn’t realise is that they can also offer a regular friendly chat and that can be just as important as the weekly basics”, according to Mr. O’Leary.
On Friday, April, 24, Leo Varadkar launched the wellbeing initiative “In this together” which aims to promote wellbeing during the current pandemic. It offers a range of activities and supports, for mental health, staying fit and active, staying connected which can be found on gov.ie/together or on the dedicated wellbeing section of Kildare County Council website here :kildarecoco.ie/coronavirusinformation/Wellbeing/.
Kildare Covid-19 Community response forum encourages anyone who is struggling, to reach out and avail of the range of online and phone supports that can be found on the website and on YourMentalHealth.ie.
As part of the “In this Together” initiative Kildare Covid-19 Community Response Forum are asking you to “Keep Kildare Talking”.
The main message is:
T - Take the time to chat. Together, we can get through.
A - Ask your neighbour how they're doing.
L –Let your neighbours have your contact details.
K - Keep in regular contact by telephone and video call.
I - Initiate conversations with a friendly wave or smile.
N - Never feel alone - Kildare Community Call Helpline is here to help you.
G – Get Talking, it’s good for you and your community.
Two existing befriending programmes in Co. Kildare, Good Morning Kildare and Older Voices have expanded their phone befriending services in response to the crisis and are making hundreds of calls each week. Good Morning Kildare is a free telephone call by the community for a friendly chat about everyday things. You can contact this service on 045 859 037 or email@example.com.
Older Voices Kildare (OVK) is a Social Inclusion Initiative which specifically targets isolated categories of older persons, including Older LGBTQI persons, Travellers, People with Disability, and Individuals who are experiencing social exclusion through lack of or limited social capital. The contact numbers for this service are Denise Croke, 087-1411669 and Susan Higgins, Befriending Support Worker, 087-1149175.
Kildare Covid-19 Community Response Forum is reminding people that anyone who needs help or is experiencing loneliness can call the Kildare Community Call Helpline at 1800 300 174, 8am-8pm, seven days a week or the national ALONE Helpline 0818 222 024. Conor O’Leary, Community Champion for Co. Kildare can be contacted at 086-6000753 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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