COVID-19 Community Outreach
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, has recently come to and end.
From March to July 2020, and located in every county, our network of Community Champions were at the heart of COVID-19 Community Outreach. With unrivaled local connections and in-depth knowledge of available resources and supports, our Community Champions were on hand to inform and support local citizens and community organisations through this difficult time.
If you are an organisation or individual who needs support during the crisis, we strongly encourage you to reach out to your Local Authority Community Response Forum.
Download Roadmap Documents
Community Outreach Map
Operational from March to July 2020, the Community Outreach Map was created to connect people across Ireland with local support organisations participating in the COVID-19 Community Outreach programme.
Map is optimised for desktop computers. If you want to view full size on Google, please click the following button.
Geared towards empowering Community Champions to answer the commonly asked questions, the following (now archived) FAQs were divided into themes.
Last updated Tues, 23 June.
Q. What changes will I see in Phase 3 of the Government revised roadmap?
A. COVID-19 is still in Ireland and so it is vital that we all continue to observe public health guidance. This includes limiting where we go and limiting the number of people we meet.
People over 70 and those who are medically vulnerable are asked to use their own judgement on how to apply the health guidance in relation to staying at home, maintaining social distance with visitors, use times specially allocated to them for shopping and use face coverings when going to shops or busy public areas.
More generally in Phase 3:
Face coverings are recommended for public transport, retail outlets, and other places where it is difficult to maintain social distancing.
From 29 June, the services/activities that will reopen include:
- Creches, childminding facilities and pre-schools, summer camps and youth clubs
- Hairdressers, barbers, nail and brow salons
- All remaining retail services and commercial activities (including bookmakers)
- Indoor gatherings of up to 50 people when conducted in line with public health advice
- Outdoor gatherings of up to 200 people when conducted in line with public health advice.
In addition, services/activities that may reopen include:
- Cafés and restaurants providing on-premises food & beverages, pubs and hotel bars operating as restaurants, hotels, hostels, caravan parks and holiday parks
- Museums, galleries, theatres, concert halls and other cultural outlets
- Cinemas, music venues (excluding nightclubs and discos), leisure facilities, bingo halls, arcades, skating rinks, amusements parks; religious buildings and places of worship
- Sporting activities, including team leagues for adults and children, close contact sports and organised sporting spectator events and fixtures
- Indoor gyms and exercise facilities; yoga, pilates and dance studios; sports clubs and public swimming pools.
Q. What is the official advice around travel in Phase 3?
A. From phase 3 of the roadmap, you can travel anywhere in Ireland. For public transport, social distancing means that overall capacity remains restricted. You should use public transport only for essential journeys, wear face coverings and avoid peak-time travel.
All non-essential overseas travel should be avoided. Passengers arriving from overseas are expected to self-isolate for 14 days. Passengers will also have to complete a form showing where they will self-isolate.
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 email@example.com.
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.
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 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. 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 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?
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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 email@example.com 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. 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. Services on public transport will increase from Monday, 8 June as part of Phase 2 of the Government’s Roadmap for Reopening Society and Business. Social distancing means that overall capacity remains extremely restricted. Use public transport only for essential journeys, priority will be given to essential workers. Wearing a face covering is recommended. Avoid peak-time travel and walk or cycle if possible.
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?
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 - 30 June 2020
Additional Key Impact Figures
Number of times Community Champion contacted for support (call, text, email)
Number of supports delivered
Number of supports provided on School Meals Programme
Social & traditional media reach