A nationwide initiative is underway to harness and coordinate the massive grassroots response to the Covid-19 crisis.
As community groups and volunteers around the country mobilise to help the vulnerable in their neighbourhoods, a national Covid Community Response (CCR) campaign has been set up to encourage collaboration and to provide focus to their efforts.
It is hoped that by standardising communication and campaigns, and by sharing resources, the initiative will help to coordinate the various local community initiatives with the ongoing national response to the virus outbreak.
CCR spokesperson Séamus Ó Fátharta said in such uncertain times, it has been fantastic to see so many members of society pull together and launch various campaigns to tackle this challenge head-on.
"The energy, creativity and passion which is on display is most certainly our silver lining," he said.
"There are many campaigns currently underway with the most prevalent, overarching theme being to help people who are in isolation."
But Mr O Fátharta, who runs Ovis Media in Galway, said he and several friends, including Cork-based Danny O’’Donovan, of QuickMinutes.com, felt the efforts would yield better results if there was some form of national coordination, a single system that everyone could use and benefit from.
"We could see there was a lot of people doing a lot of great things but there were all doing it in isolation. We hope this will give them access to more support," he said.
Mr O Fátharta and his collaborators have built a website where volunteers and groups can register, giving them access to support from a network of individuals already working in communities across the country.
They have built a back-end tech system which, it is hoped, will facilitate the launch of an email and text order food delivery system soon.
They are also running a fundraiser with assurances that all donations will go straight towards food, sanitary products and supplies needed by those most affected by Covid-19.
Mr O Fátharta said standardising campaigns will allow community leaders to ‘rinse and repeat’ campaigns and campaign materials.
He said CCR is working closely with organisations who are already operating in the community but, due to extreme pressures, need more support now.
They have discussed their initiative with several political leaders in the hope it will be acknowledged nationally as a key part of the overall national response to the crisis.
"The battlefield for this challenge extends beyond the valiant efforts of our frontline staff and rests on our collective doorstep," he said.
"A coordinated community response may seem secondary to the challenges faced by those on the front line, but it will make all the difference.
"It is important to reiterate that everyone can help; people who can deliver supplies to the elderly are as important as medical staff at this time."