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Learning lessons for the future from ‘Community Call’ initiative that helped so many during Covid lockdown


Minister of State, Joe O'Brien TD.

Minister of State, Joe O'Brien TD.

Minister of State, Joe O'Brien TD.


A local TD and Minister of State heads up a review of the successes and failures of the Community Call initiative during the Covid pandemic crisis.

The initiative was operated on the ground by local authorities, including Fingal County Council, in concert with State agencies and voluntary groups to deliver help to people who needed it most, particularly during lockdown.

Fingal TD and Minister of State with responsibility for Community Development and Charities, Joe O’Brien hosted a Community Call “Learning for the Future” webinar, which was attended by 220 participants and he took the opportunity to thank everyone for their role they played in the Community Call.

The Community Call initiative which was rolled out across the country during the Covid pandemic to identify and support people in communities with a range of things such as shopping, medication or often just a phone call to check in and offer some human connection. The Minister said he was anxious to gather insights from those directly involved so that the learnings from it can be integrated into current and future work.

There was huge interest in the event which featured contributions from Local Authorities, the Community and Voluntary Sector, Age Friendly Ireland and panelists from Government Departments and the local Development Sector.

There was robust discussion about the Community Call and how local collaboration between state and community organisations enabled an effective response during the worst of the pandemic, helping those most in need in our communities.

Minister of State O’Brien said: “I was eager to have this event because I feel it’s vital that we don’t just capture and retain the learnings from Community Call Programme but that we try to identify practical specific ways in our current and future work where we can implement these learnings or find new ways of doing things.

“The manner in which State agencies, community and voluntary groups and volunteers came together when we we’re facing a truly unprecedented challenge- perhaps the most difficult of our times – and worked efficiently and effectively together to respond to the needs of the most vulnerable during Covid was something extraordinary.

"We can and must harness that spirit of March and April last year where we were collaborative and determined and very practical about what needed to happen and open minded about how to do it.

“The event and the honest discussions around what worked and what could work better will help us focus our attention now on how the success of the initiative can be built upon, and how innovative aspects of the work can be replicated, going forward to continue to support people in our local communities."

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He concluded: “In Fingal the Covid-19 Fingal Community Response Forum established the dedicated helpline to assist at risk members of the public in accessing non-emergency and non-medical supports and advice during the current public health emergency.

"This worked really well in bringing together numerous groups from within the community to respond to the needs of the public who made contact.”