IRISH In Britain have called for community organisations to share their experiences of supporting the diaspora here during the coronavirus in the hope that issues such as isolation and meeting the needs of those requiring care can be addressed by the sider community.
With the Irish community in Britain containing many members of the community who are at increased risk through age or ill-health, the role of community organisations in supporting those around them is a vital one. Further issues such as ensuring information and communication and available are also area in which community groups are looking to support members of the Irish community.
“Our Irish In Britain community is a caring one,” Irish In Britain said. “Among our community we have many people who may be living on their own for whom a period of self–isolating indoors may feel especially lonely.
“We also have people in our community who do not have internet at home or are not familiar with how to order shopping deliveries online. Our Cuimhne team encourages community groups to ensure they have up to date contact information for community members.
“Telephone numbers, of course, cannot be passed out to people without their permission. But a simple friendly phone call from a volunteer calling from a member organisation can help reach out to people.
“A phone call checking to see if people are OK, if people would like to like to have a chat or if anyone may need help with arranging shopping deliveries or collecting regular prescriptions at this time can help bring us together as a warm and caring community. All this can done even where we may be following health advice to stay physically apart.
“A simple phone call can be especially helpful in looking after people in our older community who may already be at risk because of existing health conditions. For the many people who do not have family members they can be in touch with, our caring community may play a similar family role.”
With different approaches being taken across the Irish community and by a wider range of organisations across the country, Irish In Britain are hopeful that by sharing the activities and experiences of those offering support it will be possible to ensure that the best practices are used by those determined to meet the needs of the vulnerable, elderly and others. In order to improve the sharing of such information Irish In Britain are calling for members to get in touch, saying: “If you have suggestions or examples of how your organisation are addressing the issue of isolation during the coronavirus crisis please do share them with us so that other community organisations can learn for them.”
Irish In Britain can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org while information and resources have been collated by the group to help those in the Irish community on a dedicated section of their website: https://www.irishinbritain.org/what-we-do/health-and-wellbeing/coronavirus