Mr Michael Ring TD, Minister for Rural and Community Development, has emphasised the important role of communities in supporting their vulnerable neighbours over the coming weeks.
The mobilisation of local community & voluntary groups and the engagement of volunteers at local level can play a crucial part in ensuring that vulnerable people living in the community can continue to have their needs met in the event that their usual sources of support become unavailable.
Minister Ring said:
As part of the Government’s response to Covid-19, the Department of Rural and Community Development is chairing an Advisory Group on the Community Response. The Chair of the Advisory Group will report to the NPHET Subgroup on Vulnerable People which is tasked with providing oversight and assurance with regard to the specific preparedness, measures and actions that need to be taken to protect vulnerable groups and individuals in society.
The overarching purpose of the Advisory Group is to encourage and facilitate community engagement in response to the needs of vulnerable people – such as older people or people with disabilities - living in the community.
The Advisory Group will assist the Department of Rural & Community Development to -
1. Identify particular geographic areas and/or client groups where additional community supports may be required
2. Define the nature of the supports that could be provided by community volunteers who are not professionally qualified
3. Identify measures to encourage members of the community to consider the needs of vulnerable people in their locality and to take appropriate action
4. Identify measures to facilitate people in communities who wish to volunteer: including linking with existing statutory and voluntary service providers, training, co-ordination, management etc.
5. Advise on appropriate communications generally and with relevant groups/stakeholders
6. Advise on proposals to be advanced for consideration of the NPHET Sub-Group on Vulnerable People