Monday 21 January 2019

Volunteers worked 3,000 hours and did 150 taskings across North Cork

Maria Herlihy

The community spirit was there by the bucket load from the volunteers of Mallow Charleville Red Cross during both the Beast from the East and Storm Emma.

Over 40 volunteers worked on a rota system and the strong team played a huge role in the 150 call outs tasked to it within the Cork area, resulting in almost 3,000 hours of volunteer duty during the recent storm.

Chairman David O’Sullivan has played a role in the Red Cross in his native town of Mallow for over three decades. When he isn’t volunteering at the Red Cross, he also plays a key role as the Chief Emergency Management Officer in the HSE South.

The branch recently built a new ambulance base at the rear of the swimming pool in Mallow - prior to that they did not have their own ambulance base or building.

Previously, Mr. O’Sullivan told The Corkman, that it was very difficult not having a base, but now there is room for their five ambulances in a state of the art premises. He readily agreed that a phenomenal amount of work was undertaken to bring the project about.

As they did not receive any Government funding and are dependant completely on voluntary donations and their volunteers, the group put their shoulders to the wheel and wanted desperately to make their dream of having their own base a reality.

They approached the executives who sit on the JP McManus Fund, who listened to the group and carefully examined their proposal. It paid off as Mr. McManus’ executives gave them a significant amount of money which Mallow-Charleville Red Cross then had to match and which, ultimately, allowed them to start their project.

The new base which includes the site, building, engineers and a host of other fees, cost €380,000. All money raised came from the hard work of the Mallow-Charleville Red Cross volunteers.

They continue to fund-raise in order to pay for their new building.

In addition to attending various events in North Cork, they also have a very strong presence and work load within the Mid West region, where they undertake and complete multiple activities and duties.

What is truly amazing about the Mallow-Charleville Red Cross is that many of their volunteers then progress and enter the healthcare profession. Their past and current members have gone on to become medical surgical/doctors, nurses, advanced paramedics and paramedics.

When the volunteers rolled up their sleeves during both the Beast from the East and Storm Emma, they etched out a slice of history for themselves by the acknowledgement that their voluntary work effort was the greatest in the history of Mallow Charleville Red Cross with the most significant volume of call outs and taskings for one individual Branch and Unit within the entire country of Ireland.

The smiles were there by the many North Cork and Mid West patients who were carried safely to hospital; to patients brought for dialysis and chemotherapy; to carers brought to the homes of elderly people.

In addition, nurses from rural Duhallow, North Cork and the Mid West were collected at their homes and brought to work and home again; as was a doctor from Ballincollig who got to attend to and care for patients in Mallow General Hospital. All of this is solely down to the volunteers who consistently put their shoulder to the wheel and who time and time again help out their community.