Assortment of Good News Stories
Throughout the COVID-19 health pandemic, there have been many examples of our communities responding to the exceptional circumstances to help those in need. Here, a selection of community groups share their stories.
CKS Men's Group
As the impact of Covid-19 on those forced to shield became obvious, the CKS Men’s Group responded immediately, using their own funds to buy food parcels for the most vulnerable. Culmore and O’ Kane Residents Association accessed funding from Fermanagh and Omagh District Council and other sources to provide food packs and essentials. The Easter Bunny brought additional Easter cheer by delivering Easter eggs to children and pensioners alike.
A Facebook post plus word of mouth sent the message around residents that support was available from group volunteers. These messages were a lifeline to those who may have felt isolated or alone as they had to stay in doors with perhaps no family to collect vital supplies. There is no doubt that the presence of caring volunteers created a reassuring presence in uncertain times.
Mullaghmore & Castleview Community Association (MACCA)
Mullaghmore & Castleview Community Association (MACCA) were conscious of the long-term impact of the Covid-19 crisis so they agreed to pace their response in a way that would ensure a sustainable impact. This included providing information and signposting on mental health awareness, available online courses, domestic violence initiatives, Sure Start resources online, health initiatives and any other initiatives which they thought would help sustain their residents during the crisis.
They also operated a food bank accepting donations of non-perishable items and applying for funding from other sources enabled them to sustain their efforts. The hardworking community leaders in MACCA were aware of the need to address fuel poverty as they knew some people were struggling with this issue.
Finally, aware of the demands that home schooling puts on families, MACCA partnered with South West College to provide online courses for Years 1-10 in Maths, English and IT for four weeks with laptops also provided.
*Fermanagh and Omagh District Council was pleased to provide Mullaghmore & Castleview Community Association with £332 of funding support.
Drumquin’s “One Community, One Response Team"
The response to COVID-19 in Drumquin was based on the recognition that working collaboratively would yield the optimum results and consequently Drumquin’s “One Community, One Response Team” was formed. Initially the group operated a food bank and put together food parcels, but like all good community responses, they adapted their approach to meet the needs of the situation as it unfolded. The group have now distributed over 150 vouchers to those who are self- isolating which are redeemable in local Drumquin shops, helping to ensure that the local economy is also supported.
Keen to support as many age groups as possible, the group applied to Fermanagh and Omagh District Council for financial support towards creating fun-filled activity packs for Primary School children. Volunteer Frankie Donnelly, said, “Primary school children have had their whole lives turned upside down and are separated from their friends and school. The older children have more access to their friends through social media, but primary school children do not have that. This activity pack has been given out to them and it should help them fill their days.”
*Fermanagh and Omagh District Council was pleased to provide Drumquin’s “One Community, One Response Team” with £500 of funding support.
Goodwill Gifts Support Group
Goodwill Gifts Support Group have kept in touch during the pandemic through regular daily contact and video calls every Thursday evening. Overall, the group video messenger and individual video calls have been extremely helpful to combat isolation and stress caused by COVID-19.
To view a sample of a call and find out more about this group’s response to the COVID crisis, please click here.
Frances McHugh, Relaxation Classes
Due to the pandemic Francis could no longer teach her relaxation classes or offer therapies so she decided to create a relaxation video for all her clients to help them during lockdown. Francis recorded a virtual walk around Killyfole Lake for those unable to actually walk the lake during this time which was available for everyone to access on YouTube.
To view the video please click here.
Hospital Road Community Association and Youth Club
Hospital Road Community Association and Youth Club swung into action immediately by accessing funding from Fermanagh and Omagh District Council for the provision of food packs. Supplemented with supplies from the Omagh “Feeding Omagh’s Food Banks Campaign”, the group continued to deliver these food packs three days a week until the end of lockdown.
Keeping fun and exercise to the fore, a Sunday evening Garden Dance was organised and involved residents of all ages. The Youth Club organised a “Positive Rocks” project, painting brightly coloured rocks and distributing them around the estates to encourage adults and children to paint a matching rock and share on the group’s Facebook page. In organising the above activities, Hospital Road Community Association addressed several types of needs, from the need for necessities to introducing creativity, fun and enhancing the local environment.
To find out more about Hospital Road Community Association’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic please click here to watch a short summary video.