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Community Work Ireland: working collectively to support and promote community work as a means of addressing poverty, social exclusion and inequality and advancing human rights

COVID-19 IMPORTANT INFORMATION FOR CWI MEMBERS

Dear CWI Members,
 
CWI shares the deep and growing national and global concern about the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic and the devastating effects it is having for communities, families and individuals throughout the world. While acknowledging that collective protection in line with medical advice and state regulations needs to be paramount, we are also concerned that social justice and human rights remain to the forefront in underpinning the struggle to develop responses.
 
We support all of our members working in and with the communities who will doubtless be hardest hit by this crisis including Travellers and Roma, people who are unemployed  or living on low incomes and working in precarious jobs, people living in direct provision and emergency accommodation, those who are homeless living in hostels and family hubs, women living with an abusive partner or those seeking shelter in refuges,  those in rented accommodation in fear of losing their homes, those with mental health problems, older people especially those already isolated and living in poverty and others facing certain unemployment as this crisis deepens.
Now perhaps more than ever is a time for strong community work, and for community workers to pull together collectively to share information, ideas and concerns while working with those most affected.  
 
CWI have convened a Covid-19 NGO Group comprising national organisations representing most of these communities in an effort to build a collective response to share information on emerging issues which need to be raised at Government level.
 
We are participating in the Department of Rural and Community Development’s Advisory Group on community response to needs of vulnerable people. The overarching purpose of the Advisory Group therefore is to encourage and facilitate community engagement in response to the needs of vulnerable people living in the community.
 
We want to establish a way of communicating with you our members because it is only by working together and communicating with each other that we can make an impact for the communities we work with. We all are heartened by reports of solidarity and support within communities all over Ireland. We need to build on this together to ensure that community work and community workers are supported in the work you are doing.
 
We will keep you updated on any relevant developments and will be in touch in the coming days to ask you for your input and feedback on what is happening in your area and the communities you are working with.
 
See here some recent information which may be of interest to you – many of you will have received this through other channels but we feel it is important to share all communication from Government and agencies as widely as possible.
Below please find information on:
  • Postponement of events
  • A message from the Covid-19 Health Communications Stakeholder Support
  • National Action Plan on COVID-19
  • Arrangements for energy customers during Covid-19 restrictions
  • Mental Health and Wellbeing
  • Press Release from An Garda Síochána
  • Useful Numbers

Human Rights and Equality Grant Scheme 2020-21

Information Sessions for civil society organisations and community groups - POSTPONED

Commissioning and Procurement: Impacts on Irish Civil Society Conference
Postponed but will be rearranged for a later date.

 

Please find below a circular sent to all Directors of Services for Housing in each local authority in relation to Traveller accommodation and COVID19 by the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government. This may be useful to use if advocating for safety measures to be put in place in your area.

To all Directors of Service- Housing
March 18th 2020
 
Traveller Accommodation Unit – Electronic Correspondence
 
Dear Colleagues,

As you are aware, on Thursday, March 12th 2020, the Taoiseach announced that a number of significant measures are being put in place, arising from the Coronavirus/COVID19 situation.  The measures are designed to reduce the spread of COVID19 and lessen the risk of infection, especially to vulnerable groups. 

Some members of the Traveller community, particularly those living on sites with limited facilities, may be particularly vulnerable and extra measures may need to be put in place to protect Travellers living in Traveller specific accommodation in each local authority. 

The following areas have been identified to date, where additional measures may be required in Traveller accommodation facilities in order to reduce the risk of the spread of the virus:
  1. Extra toilets;
  2. Running water;
  3. Additional mobile accommodation / space where there is overcrowding;
  4. Extra refuse collection;
  5. Access and egress on sites; and
  6. Additional units (either mobiles on site or houses elsewhere that will allow for self-isolation/ quarantine).
 
It should be noted that every effort should be made to find prompt and practical solutions on existing sites.  Where these additional measures prove not possible, it may be necessary for local authorities, to work with the families involved, to move residents to alternative accommodation on a temporary basis.
 
In addition to the above, you may also have identified other measures that are of value that could be employed in other local authority areas to prevent the spread of the virus.  If this is the case, please advise the Traveller Accommodation Unit so that we can share with other local authorities.
 
If local authorities, consider that the above additional measures are required in relation to any site they should contact the Department to discuss.  The Traveller Accommodation Unit has some funding available for essential mitigation works and any such requests will be prioritised within 24 hours.
I refer you to Circular 46/2016, which outlines the availability of funding for the purchase of mobile homes in cases of emergencies.  Consideration of any proposals under this circular will also be prioritised by the Traveller Accommodation Unit and we will respond within 24 hours.
Please ensure that lines of communication are open with the Traveller Community and Traveller Organisations in your area and they are referred to the HSE Guidelines as appropriate.  We would be grateful if you keep us informed of all developments and issues arising on sites including instances where testing is required. 
 
Any queries in relation to this Circular should be addressed TAU@housing.gov.ie
 
Yours sincerely,
 
Rosemarie Tobin
Principal Officer
Traveller Accommodation  Support Unit
Dear Stakeholder,
As you know as part of the national response to Covid-19, the Department of Health, the Department of Rural and Community Development and the HSE are working closely to support stakeholders and community groups.

Thank you for your positive response to our first email to you all yesterday evening. For organisations who have come on this mailing list today, the information from yesterday is replicated and updated below.

Partner Pack
There is an online partner pack  for your organisation to use in your own communication and across your network.
This pack can now be downloaded online here https://www.hse.ie/eng/services/news/newsfeatures/covid19-updates/partner-resources/

The starter partner pack contains:
  • The most up to date posters on Coronavirus COVID-19 (please display and share these with your teams and service users, and please replace any previous posters with the updated version)
  • Videos on Coronavirus COVID-19 that you can share and display

We are working on content for a variety of needs, and we will be adding more videos, materials and translations so this partner pack can act as a source of helpful information and resources for you.

We would be grateful if you would let us know if your organisation has any specific requests or urgent needs in relation to Coronavirus COVID-19 public health information materials.  If you do, please email us at Partner.Pack@hse.ie to let us know.

There is further information on Coronavirus COVID-19 available at: https://www2.hse.ie/coronavirus/ and health.gov.ie

Social Media Accounts:
If your organisation is not already doing so, please follow the following sources on twitter and re-tweet messages relating to Coronavirus COVID-19:
@HSELive
@hpscireland
@roinnslainte
@CMOireland

Looking after mental wellbeing:
We are aware that many people may be feeling a sense of anxiety and stress at this time.  In this regard we are also developing information and resources to support mental wellbeing and promote resilience during these challenging times.  We will be sharing this with you when these are developed.

Our collective efforts are critical, we need to do this together, as one community. We will be asking everyone to play their part, to help each other. Slowing the spread of this disease protects everyone, but it particularly protects those who are most at risk.

Thank you again in advance for your support at this important time.

Covid-19 Health Communications Stakeholder Support

National Action Plan on COVID-19
 
A National Action Plan on COVID-19 has been recently launched and this includes information on:
  • what we know about the COVID-19 virus
  • what the public can do to reduce the threat
  • the public health led approach being taken
  • supports for businesses and those who have lost their jobs
  • supports for vulnerable people in society
  • measures to ensure continuity of essential services
  • measures to protect vital supply chains
Please download the plan here.

Arrangements for energy customers during Covid-19 restrictions
SVP has been engaging with the Commission for the Regulation of Utilities (CRU) and all energy suppliers for the past number of days to make sure arrangements are in place for low income and vulnerable customers during Covid-19 restrictions. 
Please find further details here

Mental Health and Wellbeing
Infectious disease outbreaks like coronavirus (COVID-19), can be worrying. Social distancing and isolation can have an impact on your mental health. But there are many things you can do to mind your mental health during times like this.
Read HSE's advice on how to mind your own mental health during the Coronavirus outbreak here.

GARDA PRESS RELEASE

An Garda Síochána is in the process of hiring additional vehicles to provide additional mobility to our members nationwide to provide increased community support and community engagement across the country. 

Speaking today Deputy Commissioner Twomey stated that “As a community at this time we need more than ever to support the most vulnerable in our society, particularly our elderly and isolated.  An Garda Síochána has always worked closely with our communities and we continue to do so in these extraordinary times”.

An Garda Síochána continue to urge families, neighbours and community groups to engage with people in line with ‘social distancing’ guidelines. 

As an organisation, Gardaí across the country are being asked to actively identify those persons most at need, particularly those with limited local family or social support.  In these cases An Garda Síochána will assist. 

These ‘contingency’ vehicles will be used to maintain personal interactions and where needed to assist and support people, which may include collecting medical prescriptions, attending hospital appointments and other supports they may need.  They are not ‘primary response vehicles’.

An Garda Síochána will also use these opportunities to link identified people into local, national and state services where appropriate.

Any person with these concerns for themselves or for a neighbour should contact their local Garda station, Contact details, including email contact, for all Garda stations can be found on the Garda website or in any phonebook. 

An Garda Síochána has established a COVID-19 National Co-Ordination Unit operating from Garda Headquarters under Deputy Commissioner Twomey, Policing and security to co-ordinate and manage a strategic Garda response to this dynamic situation.  Deputy Commissioner, Policing and Security currently chairs daily meetings with Regional Commanders and Heads of Section monitoring the evolving position”.

Kevin Daly

Kevin Daly, Superintendent

Community Engagement & Public Safety

Harcourt Square,

Dublin 2


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Community Work Ireland · Westside Community Resource Centre · Seamus Quirke Rd · Galway, H91 C1KX · Ireland

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