A dedicated Covid-19 community support helpline is available in Carlow from today (Monday) for at risk people.
It aims to help people 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 Carlow County Council 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.
Included in the COVID-19 Carlow County Community Response Forum is a variety of agencies and bodies including Carlow County Council, Health Service Executive, An Garda Síochána and other community, voluntary and sports representatives.
The first meeting of the Forum took place on Sunday before the lines opened on Monday.
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.
Carlow 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 Carlow County Council, Kathleen Holohan, said: "There are a number of agencies, community and voluntary groups, individuals 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 Carlow County Council 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 Carlow during the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Carlow County Carlow 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 here 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, Carlow County Council is providing a dedicated FREE contact number 1800 814 300 with the lines open from 9am-5pm seven days a week."