Chris O'Dowd offers Social Spin to the pub in initiative to combat rural isolation

Actor Chirs O'Dowd has offered up his driving skills to support a new pilot initiative.

Chris O'Dowd offers Social Spin to the pub in initiative to combat rural isolation

Actor Chirs O'Dowd has offered up his driving skills to support a new pilot initiative.

Social Spin aims to provide a safe and sociable option to get people to and from the pub.

The initiative comes from a group of Kerry publicans with support from Guinness and the Vintners Federation of Ireland.

Social Spin has seen more than 70 volunteer drivers throughout Causeway and Faha sign up to get behind the wheel of a newly bought community car to drive people too and from the pub in place of drinking.

It is aimed that the initiative will be in operation from 5pm to closing time.

Pub-goers can either call or text the dedicated ‘Social Spin’ number when they want to meet people in the pub.

Chris O’Dowd and the Social Spin community car. Picture: Julien Behal
Chris O’Dowd and the Social Spin community car. Picture: Julien Behal

There is no charge for the use of the service, but people will have the opportunity to give a maximum voluntary contribution of €5 on any given evening.

"Socialising is the fabric that knits our community in Faha together, and fewer people meeting up in a social setting began to impact the atmosphere in the area," said Sean O’Mahony, owner and publican at Faha Court Pub.

"We knew something had to be done, so we bought a community car, set up a dedicated mobile number and asked people to volunteer to drive their friends and neighbours to and from the pub."

Roscommon native Chris O'Dowd is one of those helping to provide awareness of the scheme.

The Bridesmaids actor got behind the wheel in Faha in a show of support.

"Having grown up in Boyle, a rural area in Roscommon, I understand the significance of the local pub in bringing people together in a community," said O'Dowd.

"It’s a social hub, somewhere to catch up and share stories.

"Socialising is part of our DNA and I think Social Spin is a brilliant and simple way of nurturing and celebrating this sociability, which is such an important part of our culture."

Anyone over 25 and with a driving license can sign up and volunteer to drive the Social Spin car.

Sean O'Mahony, publican of the Faha Court Pub and Hollywood star Chris O’Dowd. Picture: Julien Behal
Sean O'Mahony, publican of the Faha Court Pub and Hollywood star Chris O’Dowd. Picture: Julien Behal

Mr O'Mahony said the atmosphere in the area "has changed for the better" due to Social Spin.

"On average we drive between 80 and 100 people to and from the pub on a weekly basis and as a result it has contributed to a renewed sense of community spirit.

"We are thrilled with how it is being received."

Padraig Cribben, CEO of the Vintners Federation, also hailed the project.

"Social Spin is a fantastic initiative run by local communities that promotes and nurtures sociability within Causeway and Faha, which we believe will inspire other communities across Ireland to consider introducing a similar scheme," said Mr Cribben.

"Once this pilot is complete, we will bring a strong message to government that funding needs to be made available to support Social Spin across rural Ireland."

Alan McAleenan, Guinness Marketing Director, added: “We are delighted to support such a fantastic community initiative.

"Social Spin is a progressive and positive solution that addresses rural isolation and also brings communities together in the pub in a safe and positive way."

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