COVID-19 Community Outreach

CCO Image

Welcome to the COVID-19 Community Outreach (CCO) initiative, 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.

Located in every county, our network of Community Champions are at the heart of COVID-19 Community Outreach.

With unrivaled local connections and in-depth knowledge of available resources and supports, our Community Champions are here to serve and inform local citizens and community organisations through this difficult time. 

This is being achieved by:

  1. Disseminating accurate, up-to-date information and best practice around COVID-19 to local people and organisations.
  2. Monitoring the situation in their community, ensuring that no vulnerable person is left behind. 
  3. Representing local community sector organisations to Local Authority Community Support Response Forums.
  4. Helping to identify issues and gaps emerging at local level throughout Ireland, so it can be fed back to Government.

Connect with Your Community Champion

If you are an organisation or individual who needs support during the crisis, we strongly encourage you to reach out to your local Champion. They can help organise support for you, represent your needs on their Local Authority Fora, and feedback major issues to Government. 

If you are an organisation or individual offering services or community supports during this crisis, we would also encourage you to link in with your Champion. They can help channel support to where it’s most needed in communities and signpost people to your services. 

Use the map below to find your local Community Champion. 

Also below you will find a series of FAQs, designed to help direct you towards the most relevant resources. 

Latest Updates

5 May 2020 - Download Roadmap Documents

Roadmap for Reopening

Overview of Phased Reopening

Contents:

  1. Find Your Community Champion
  2. Frequently Asked Questions
  3. Impact of CCO programme
  4. Additional Resources

Community Outreach Map

Use the map below to locate your local Community Champion, as well as local nonprofits participating in the COVID-19 Community Outreach, which is part of the Community Call initiative.

Alternatively, you can download a list of your local Community Champions below.

Community Champion List

You can also download a list of your Local Authority's Community Response Forum phone numbers below.

Local Authority Contacts

Map Legend

Red Heart = Community Champions

Map is optimised for desktop computers. If you want to view full size on Google, please click the following button.

Full Size Map


FAQs

Geared towards empowering Community Champions to answer the most common questions they will encounter, the following FAQs have been divided into themes.

This list of FAQs will be updated and expanded on an ongoing basis. Last updated Tues, 12 May at 8.30pm.

Q. Where do I get accurate and up-to-date information on COVID-19 prevention, transmission and treatment?

A. People in the community must be directed to reliable public health information, as provided by www.hse.ie and their own GP.

Q. How do I get tested for COVID-19?

A. Contact your GP immediately by telephone and they will arrange a test for you. Meanwhile, act as if you have the virus and self-isolate. More information on all things related to Coronavirus is available at: www.hse.ie

Important: please do not turn up to a test centre without an appointment. You will not be seen, you will be sent home. You must contact your GP or local hospital first.

Q. What should I do if I am feeling worried about my mental health or that of a family member?

The Government of Ireland Getting Through COVID-19 Together campaign acknowledges that all of our lives and our daily routines are affected by the measures that have been introduced, to disrupt the spread of the coronavirus virus and keep us all safe. 

Organisations that have any specific requests or urgent needs in relation to COVID-19 public health information materials can email: Partner.Pack@hse.ie for assistance.

The HSE Website provides advice on mental health supports and services during COVID-19, including a link to the yourmentalhealth.ie hub and contact details for online, phone, email and text supports that you can access.

Jigsaw has launched a support line to provide free mental health support and advice to young people aged 12 to 25 years old, and to parents or concerned adults in the Republic of Ireland. Contact: 1800 544729(Mon-Fri, 1pm-5pm), text ‘call me’ to 086 1803880 (Mon-Fri, 9am-5pm) or email help@jigsaw.ie.

HSE, Health & Wellbeing are also offering a Stress Control Online programme via Stresscontrol.org.  This 3-week programme is free of charge to the public and delivered by Dr. Jim White, Consultant Clinical Psychologist, Stress Control Ltd.

The National Educational Psychological Service (NEPS) has launched guidance on relaxation techniques for young people to manage and stay well when schools are closed, accompanied by a podcast.

Q. How can I stay physically active while maintain social distancing or if I am cocooning?

Staying physically active is vital for your physical and mental health and wellbeing. Healthy Ireland has published these useful tips for staying physically active during the current COVID-19 outbreak.

The HSE Physios, Age Friendly, CLSP and Healthy Cities have developed a Cocooning Exercise booklet. The booklet is accompanied by this video.

The Irish Wheelchair Association has developed a Sport Exercise Manual to support people to keep physically active during the COVID-19 crisis. They also have online workouts for you to follow at home.

RTE 1 has launched a daily ‘Keep Active’ programme to help viewers who are at home/in self isolation or cocooning and will offer tips on how to keep healthy and happy.  The programme, 'Ray & Ó'Sé's Fitness 15' runs for 15 mins and airs at 2.20pm each day.

RTE is running a four week programme series of Operation Transformation: Keeping Well Apart on Wednesday evenings at 9.35pm.

Meath Local Sports Partnership has published a range of activity ideas and guidance on keeping physically active during the COVID-19 crisis.

A virtual Bloom At Home is part of the Government of Ireland #InThisTogether wellbeing initiative, where well-known gardeners, show garden designers and Bord Bia Bloom staff will share their advice and tips throughout May, encouraging people to prepare their own plants and gardens, balconies and window boxes for a national celebration. This will culminate in a final virtual Bloom Day showcasing the nation's efforts.

Online library: People now have access to 28,000 e-books and 18,000 e-audio-books via the Borrowbox app, 352 international e-magazine titles, 1,412 online news-papers, over 500 e-learning courses and over a hundred online language courses, all free of charge.

Gaisce, the self-development programme for young people between the ages of 15-25 which sets goals across four challenge areas of physical activity, personal skill, community involvement and a team challenge is for the first time making its programmes available to young people entirely new to Gaisce – and adapting its programmes to reflect Covid-19 realities facing young people using #GaisceAtHome.

Q. I am cocooning. What does the Government’s roadmap for reopening Ireland mean for me?

From 5 May, people can travel up to 5km from their homes for exercise. Those who are cocooning can leave their homes for exercise so long as they avoid all contact with other people​.                                  

From 8 June, specific retail hours, coordinated across all retailers, will be designated for over 70s and medically vulnerable, with strict social distancing, provision of gloves and ideally wearing face coverings.

Also from 8 June, visits to homes of over 70s and medically vulnerable by no more than a small number of persons for a short period of time wearing gloves, face coverings and maintaining strict 2m social distancing will be allowed.

The Government of Ireland has published an overview of phased reopening for society and business commencing 18 May.

Q. I am over 70 and obliged by the Government to 'cocoon'. What does this mean exactly? 

A. Cocooning is a measure to protect people who are over 70 years of age and/or those who are extremely medically vulnerable. This is done by minimising all interaction between them and others. Read more on cocooning on the HSE website here: https://www.hse.ie/eng/services/news/media/pressrel/hse-outlines-main-cocooning-measures.html

Q. I am an older person who is self-isolating. How do I collect my pension? 

A. By contacting your bank by telephone you can arrange to have your pension paid into your account directly. This saves you leaving your home to collect your pension. Specialised information for older people is available on www.alone.ie, or by ringing the ALONE helpline 0818 222 024.

Q. I rely on the postal service and trips to the Post Office quite regularly. Is there business as usual?

A. An Post Mails, Parcels and Post Office networks are working as normal across Ireland. As a result of Covid-19, they have made some changes customers should be aware of. Read them here.

Q. Are there special times that I can visit certain supermarkets?

A.Supermarket chains Lidl and Tesco are implementing priority shopping hours for elderly people, over 65s and family carers. Lidl has 'priority' shopping hours from 9am to 11am and Tesco is from 7/8am (depending on location) until 9am. Other smaller shops and retailers are only allowing one customer into the shop at a time.

Q. I am aware of someone in my community who I consider very vulnerable. How can I ensure they are contacted by a volunteer.

A. If you know of people in your area that you think need extra supports, please refer them to your local Community Champion (see map / list below).

Q.I rely on public transport to get around. Who can and cannot use public transport during the COVID-19 crisis?

A. Public transport in Ireland is restricted to essential workers only between 28 March and 12 April. All public transport operators will run reduced services from 30 March to 12 April.

Q. I live in a rural area and Local Link bus service is important to me. Is it still working for me or for care workers/public service workers?

A. Visit the Local Link coronavirus information Local Link coronavirus information page for more information.

Q. Sadly I have to register the death of a family member. Is it still necessary to do this in person?

A. The requirement to attend a civil registration service to register a birth or death has been suspended during the COVID-19 pandemic. You can find out how to register a birth or how to register a death in Ireland during the COVID-19 pandemic on gov.ie.

Q. I am currently cocooning. How can I do my shopping?

The Community Call initiative has published advice for shoppers when shopping on behalf of someone else, including how to handle payments.

Citizens’ Information has published advice on shopping during COVID-19, with specific guidance for older or vulnerable people. 

Safefood, the all-island food safety organisation, has published guidance on shopping for groceries during the COVID-19 crisis, including a handy list of FAQs in relation to food storage and packaging.

Q. I have suddenly lost my job as a result of Coronavirus. What am I entitled to? 

A. COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment is a new social welfare payment for employees and self-employed people who are unemployed or who have their hours of work reduced during the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic. Visit this page for more details.

Some people are getting paid their social welfare payments every two weeks as a result of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) supports measures introduced by the Government. Are you one of these people? MABS shares tips on how to manage so that your money stretches. You can read the full blog here

Q. My employer is proposing to reduce my hours to part-time. What kind of support can I get from the Government in this scenario?

A. Visit the Citizens Information page on COVID-19 for information on the various employment supports available to those who have had their hours reduced.

Q. I am waiting for COVID-19 test results. If I test positive, what illness benefit will I be entitled to if any?

A. The Citizens Information page on COVID-19 details the benefits that you may be entitled to while awaiting a COVID-19 test result or after receiving a diagnosis.

Q. Due to lockdown restrictions, I am obliged to work from home. Where can I get advice on best practice on working from home during COVID-19 restrictions?

You will find advice on best practice on the Citizens Information website.

Q. Are utility companies willing to make allowances for people who are impacted by COVID-19? 

A. With effect from 17 March 2020, the following measures have been put in place to help you remain connected to your electricity and gas supplies during this period. Read the full announcement on the CRU's website.

If you are experiencing difficulties in paying your utility bills, MABS may be of support to you. MABS continue to provide money advice and debt advice supports via phone and email. The free, independent and confidential nature of the MABS service remains and they have Money Advisers waiting to take your call. The MABS Helpline is available from 9am – 8pm Monday to Friday by dialing 0761 07 2000 or you can email helpline@mabs.ie. or speak to a money adviser on our Live Chat on Mabs.ie. In addition, the MABS website contains a list of telephone numbers and email addresses for all MABS services countrywide. It also has updated links and information regarding COVID-19.

Q. I have heard that mortgage payments can be suspended during the crisis. Is this true?

A. On 18 March 2020 the 5 retail banks (AIB, Bank of Ireland, KBC, Permanent tsb and Ulster Bank), along with their representative body Banking & Payments Federation Ireland (BPFI) announced a series of measures to support people and businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. To request a payment break, contact your bank directly.

If you are worried about your mortgage payments or are looking for support in dealing with your mortgage provider, MABS service can advise and guide you. The MABS Helpline is available from 9am – 8pm Monday to Friday. Abhaile is a scheme to help homeowners find a resolution to their home mortgage arrears and keep them, wherever possible, in their own home. It provides vouchers for free financial and legal advice and help from experts, which are available through MABS.

Abhaile is the State-funded service for people whose home is in mortgage arrears. Abhaile is available to help mortgage holders in arrears to find the best solutions and keep them wherever possible, in their own homes. A dedicated adviser will work with you and your lender to find the best solution for your situation. You can access Abhaile by calling the MABS Helpline 0761 07 2000 or you can email helpline@mabs.ie In addition, MABS.ie contains a list of telephone numbers and email addresses for all MABS services countrywide.

Q. I am worried my landlord will put up the rent which I am already struggling to pay. What can I do?

A.Emergency measures were announced on 19 March 2020 to protect tenants impacted by COVID-19. These are a moratorium on notices to leave rental accommodation and a moratorium on rent increases for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic; and an increase in the notice period for tenancies of less than six months from 28 to 90 days.  These provisions are set out in the Emergency Measures in the Public Interest (Covid-19) Bill 2020 (pdf).

Threshold has offices in Cork, Dublin and Galway, where trained staff provide free and independent advice and advocacy to tenants experiencing housing problems particularly those at risk of homelessness. Threshold's Tenancy Protection and Advice Services can be contacted on their national freephone 1800 454 454.

Q. I run a small business in the community that has to be discontinued from immediate effect. Are there any supports in place?

A. There are a number of supports in place for businesses in Ireland impacted by the Covid-19 crisis. Visit this page to find out more.

Q. Where can I find a list of tradespeople that are available during the COVID-19 crisis?

Local Heroes, an initiative of Bord Gáis energy, provides an online service to support people locally to access tradespeople for essential plumbing, drainage, electrical repairs, gas boiler repairs and locksmiths.

The Age Action Care and Repair programme is a service that helps to keep people living in their own homes in increased safety and comfort. Volunteers carry out DIY work for older people free of charge. They also keep a list of local tradesmen whose contact details can be provided for paid work where jobs are too large for volunteers. It is delivered in two ways around Ireland - by our staff and volunteers, and by our Community Partners around the country.  To check availability of the service near you, call 01-4756989 (Mon-Fri, 9am-5pm).

Q. My child was set to do the Junior Certificate this year but the situation has changed. Where can I get more information on this?

A. Most secondary schools are providing lessons for children to keep up with their school work. The state examinations oral and practical performance tests which were scheduled to take place from Monday, 23 March, to Friday, 3 April 2020, are cancelled. The Department and the State Examinations Commission will monitor the potential impact the COVID-19 pandemic on exams. Contact your child's school directly for more information. 

Q. I have travel plans booked for the near future. What are my rights in this situation?

A. You can read about your rights if your trip abroad is cancelled, or if you cannot travel because of coronavirus, on the Citizens Information website's document on travelplans and COVID-19.

Q. I know of someone who's documentation to stay in Ireland is due to expire soon. Who can they turn to for help?

A. Immigration permissions that are due to expire between 20 March and 20 May will automatically renew for 2 months. If you are due to register for the first time, you will not be penalised for registering late due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Immigration Services Division has a list of frequently asked questions.

Q. My passport is due to expire soon. I want it updated for identification purposes. How do I do this?

A. Passport offices are closed from 30 March until further notice. If you have already applied for a passport, or have applied to renew your passport, the application will be processed once normal services resume. Post offices are not accepting Passport Express applications, and you cannot attend the passport office in person. If you wish to apply for a new passport, you can use the passport online service.

Q.I rely on public transport to get around. Who can and cannot use public transport during the COVID-19 crisis?

A. Public transport in Ireland is restricted to essential workers only between 28 March and 12 April. All public transport operators will run reduced services from 30 March to 12 April.

Q. I live in a rural area and Local Link bus service is important to me. Is it still working for me or for care workers/public service workers?

A. Visit the Local Link coronavirus information Local Link coronavirus information page for more information.

Q. I know of people who would make great Covid-19 response volunteers in my area. How can I get them on board?

A. Irish Rural Link is leading the community aspect of the Community Outreach Project to address local level needs of people affected by Covid-19. You can also visit the website of Volunteer Ireland for more volunteer advice and guidance - www.volunteer.ie


Impact of COVID-19 Community Outreach Programme

From 31 March 2020 - 10 May

8,440 8,440
24,925 24,925
79,590 79,590

Additional Key Impact Figures

Number of times Community Champion contacted for support (call, text, email)  

4,939

Number of supports delivered

20,173

Number of supports provided on School Meals Programme

1,598

 


Useful Links

The Wheel's COVID-19 Info Hub

More Info

HSE
COVID-19 Guidance

More Info

The Latest Government Advice

More Info

Volunteer Ireland - How You Can Help

More Info