Kildare rallies in face of coronavirus shutdown

Community groups banding together to look after vulnerable

Senan Hogan

Reporter:

Senan Hogan

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editor@leinsterleader.ie

Kildare rallies in face of coronavirus shutdown

A safety notice in the window of Burke's Pharmacy, Naas

Kildare communities rallied together over the past week in the face of restrictions to limit the spread of Covid-19/coronavirus.

It has been an unprecedented week which saw schools and pubs shut while people stayed away from family and friends, and health service workers were put under severe pressure.

However, a number of local groups have banded together to ensure that the vulnerable members of the community are not forgotten about.

Groups and individuals have banded together across County Kildare in solidarity to help combat Covid-19 with one self-help group amassing nearly 600 volunteers to do errands for house-bound people.

Big-hearted citizens are collecting groceries and prescriptions for needy neighbours — while one Good Samaritan is carrying out farming chores for a farmer with an underlying medical condition.

Last Thursday, Cllr Chris Pender in Newbridge set up Covid-19 Community Support and he was inundated with several hundred people signing up within hours.

People text or email the Social Democrats politician or his team if they need help during the current infection control restrictions.

Cllr Pender told the Leader: “I’ve been amazed by the goodwill of people out there. There was 350 people that signed up the first day.

“I think there is something in all of us in Ireland that we pull together and reach out when the need is the greatest. There are heartwarming stories all over the place — like strangers calling on neighbours and offering help — because we all need to stick together to combat this virus.”

Cllr Pender said he is also working with US developers to create a ‘Covid-19 App’ which will assist locals in getting help when they need it. Cllr Pender is also dropping information leaflets into homes of as many people as possible to combat fake news about the virus.

He added: “There is a lot of misinformation out there which people are believing through no fault of their own. The outbreak situation is moving so fast and people want answers to allay their concerns but unfortunately misinformation is filling this vacuum.”

Cllr Pender also reiterated that people should feel no embarrassment in asking for help as many people could have an underlying health condition, may simply be nervous about going out in public due to the risks of infection or be housebound as they’re minding small children.

Secondary school student Abby Lee and her friends in 5th and 6th Year in Kildare Town Community School have offered to babysit for the children of healthcare workers who can’t work from home during the Covid-19 restrictions.

Abby told the Leader: “We’re available to help anybody in any way they need, such as childcare.

“I know that with children at home from school that healthcare staff won’t be able to mind them so we can help.

“I was chatting with my friends and we wanted to do something to help so we just put up a notice on Snapchat.”

There are many healthcare workers living in County Kildare due to the proximity of Naas General Hospital and the commuting distance to hospitals in Dublin.

A spokesman for the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) said: “We’ve heard anecdotally that there are a lot of offers of help in local areas and we really appreciate that.

“It is a very difficult time for workers on the frontline but we know that our efforts are supported by the general public and that is very evident at the moment.”

Elsewhere, Aaron Cullen, acting chairman of Donadea Community First Responders Group is offering a grocery, prescription and hot meals delivery in the area during this restrictive ‘social distancing’ curfew.

“I would like to put our group forward to help out with pharmacy deliveries and groceries, newspapers and hot meals from the Hamlet Court Hotel priced at €10 a meal with free delivery to all elderly or immune compromised people.

“We are doing this on a voluntary basis and we are looking for local businesses to come on board with us. All we ask for is notice of the delivery.”

In Castledermot, a new group entitled Castledermot Self Isolation Help During Covid-19 has also been established.

The popular Naas Ball Facebook page is co-ordinating a network to enable people in self isolation to maintain social contact, to obtain groceries, medications and other necessities.

In an online post, the organisers said: “If anyone in the Naas or surrounding areas is alone, isolated and needs shopping, medication or anything else picked up, I’m in a position to help and can drop to your door.”

Local groups in Ballymore Eustace and Ardclough have also made themselves available to help residents.