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On your bike: Boy scout Caillum (17) delivering groceries to the elderly people in his community

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‘Positive’: Caillum Hedderman is helping to deliver groceries and chatting to lonely people through their windows. Photo: Don Moloney

‘Positive’: Caillum Hedderman is helping to deliver groceries and chatting to lonely people through their windows. Photo: Don Moloney

Don Moloney

‘Positive’: Caillum Hedderman is helping to deliver groceries and chatting to lonely people through their windows. Photo: Don Moloney

A 17-year-old in Limerick is using his time away from school to help older, isolated people and HSE staff in his local community during the Covid-19 crisis.

Caillum Hedderman, from Ballybricken, Co Limerick, has been keeping in touch with those living on their own in the area and delivering groceries on his bike.

The teenager, who is a member of Scouting Ireland, said he knew he wanted to help as soon as he was sent home from school.

The fifth-year student at St John the Baptist Community School contacted a local county councillor to get a list of older people and those living on their own in the area, as well as any healthcare workers who might live nearby.

Caillum made a poster introducing himself, explaining what help he can offer and ways to contact him and delivered it to all of the relevant addresses.

He printed a small number of the posters and put them up in the local church, at the GAA club and the community hall. He also posted it in community Facebook groups.

"I'm trying to be sustainable, so I wanted to do it online," he said.

"I have a nice bike, so I'm able to go and get the groceries," he said, adding he is also free to cycle with smaller children from a safe social distance up to the local green if their parents need a break.

"There are a lot of older people in the area who might be feeling lonely, so I'd stop in for a chat, but because of social distancing rules it has to be through the window," he added.

"We as young people rely on the adults in our community to help us for the majority of our lives.

"Now we, as the young people, need to step up and help out by offering our assistance to those who may be vulnerable or in need of help during this time. Social distancing and hygiene is essential, but there are many ways we can help out while not putting ourselves or others at risk."

Caillum said he wanted to "lay a foundation" in his community of a good group of young people who are willing to help out.

"It's a strange time for everyone, we need to get a hold of it and turn a negative into a positive," he said. He is keen for other young people to follow his lead, and will make the template of his poster available to make it easier for anyone who wants to help out in their area.

Irish Independent