Message from the Department of Rural and Community Development

Dear All

By way of update, in response to Covid-19, the Government has launched “The Community Call”, a major initiative that links local and national government with the community and voluntary sectors.

The Community Call is an unprecedented mobilisation of both state and voluntary resources to combat the effects of Covid-19.  The purpose of the Community Call is to coordinate community activity and community assistance to where it is needed.

The immediate focus is on the elderly and the most vulnerable, and mobilising rapid response in every county to make sure everyone is looked after. In the coming weeks the focus will expand to broaden the wellbeing of our society and how communities can work together to help the country through the Covid-19 crisis.  Launching the initiative, Minister Ring stated “Since the very start of this emergency, the community and voluntary sector has been working on the ground and also at national level with my Department, to prepare for the Community Response which we are outlining today. One of our greatest assets in this country is the strength of our local, community and voluntary networks.

We are now asking that those networks – formal and informal – be mobilised so that everyone in our communities can look after each other. If your neighbours or relatives are required to stay at home – check with them to see if they need supports. And if you are in that category yourself, don’t hesitate to ask for help – whether it’s with shopping, fuel delivery, collecting medicines or any other necessities of daily life. The Local Authority helpline is there as a safety net, to ensure that everyone is looked after”.

The Community Call will be overseen and managed locally by Local Authorities.  Led by the Local Authorities Chief Executives, the dedicated community Forum in each county will coordinate and connect the wide range of services and supports available in their specific areas. The forum involves an extensive list of state and voluntary organisations. A dedicated phone line is now operational in every county (details attached) and the national number 0818 222 024 is also now in operation.

We have also produced a further leaflet – COVID-19 – Advice when giving supports/receiving supports – to add to the communications pack which we issued on 20th March.  This leaflet provides practical advice when helping neighbours or family members with practical supports like shopping.  It gives you steps to make sure how to do this safely.  For anyone who has asked for assistance, the leaflet also sets out what to expect and also practical advice on when letting someone into your home.

As part of the valuable resource of community and voluntary organisations, we are asking that you bring this information to the attention of your community, especially our leaflet – COVID-19 – Advice for people when lending a hand.

Our email support help desk is also available for queries from community and voluntary organisations at C&

More information is available on where information and practical supports are updated regularly.