Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown Public Participation reached out to 94 different residents associations within DLR to ask a series of questions about the support at micro-level that communities had in place.
There were two aims to this study:
- Research aim: To provide a snapshot of the response to the COVID-19 crisis by the Residents Associations within Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown.
- Information aim: To promote the dlr HELPLINE for Community response and share the information about the services and supports available.
Results of the study
- Out of the 68 associations that responded, 77.9% have organised a micro-level response of providing support for the vulnerable (cocooning, self-isolation)
- 14 associations did not organise support, but were aware of family support already in place
- We asked the associations whether they were aware of the dlr HELPLINE. 94% said that they are aware. Only 6% said they were not aware.
Out of the 53 associations that provide support:
- 44 said they were responding in an informal way, neighbour to neighbour or by a road representative.
- 9 had set up volunteer groups to respond.
How do the residents associations communicate with their members?
Multiple means of sharing information are in use.
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The benefit of having an existing communication structure in place was highlighted. Particular praise for the community text alert system as this was used by many to get the message out, it is trusted by those who do not use email, social media or have smart phones so do not use Whatsapp.
What does the neighbourhood help look like?
People are taking the time to text, drop a note in the door or call those who they think may be alone and need some help. Many mention that family members are looking out for their elderly parents/ relations.
e.g. Some groups use Facebook Open Fora, that way relatives that live abroad can contact volunteers for their elderly parents.
The response of local shops has been great, many have arranged to deliver locally, free of charge. Same is true of pharmacies and local restaurants.
Some of the feedback that came through about concerns for the community groups:
- Living in apartment complexes creates its own problems. Many are short term tenants rather than owners so no community. This leads to increased isolation.
- 6 groups were aware of those who should be cocooning but are not. Some will not let their neighbours help them and continue to shop even though they have been given a phone number to use.
- 2 groups stated that the elderly in their community have said that they would not ask the Community Gardaí for assistance as this would be a waste of their time and that they had more important things to do. They prefered assistance from neighbours.
- We were asked 7 times to explain how the Community Call Helpline was operated.
- Difficult to entertain children, many running competitions on FB and virtual parades.
- The amount of dog poo on the pavements was mentioned on 3 occasions.
- Lack of jogger etiquette with regard to awareness of people on pavements trying to remain at a distance when many of the pavements are not wide enough. They don’t slow down or make way. 3 groups mentioned this. One association printed and hung direction signs in their green area to try to alleviate this problem.
- Many suggested putting up official signs with Community Call phone numbers and a leaflet drop as many who may need to use this number in the future do not receive information electronically and so do not have access to finding it. 7 groups have done leaflet drops.
During the calls the following topics mentioned as personal concerns
- Trying to be of assistance but without creating a need.
- What will happen if there is volunteer fatigue?
- Mental Health, isolation and loneliness?
- What can be done for those who are caring for individuals with special needs?
- Concern about increase of domestic abuse.
- Racist remarks were mentioned.
Feedback on support given
- There was much praise for dlr County Council and their response to support the community.
- There was praise for the role of community Gardaí and also for some local councillors who have been volunteering.
- There was much praise for the local GAA clubs.
- The DLR PPN was thanked for the information that was circulated. 39 groups confirmed that they already had in turn circulated this to their members. 17 groups made posters, newsletters and social media posts including the DLR PPN information.
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