Gardaí in West Cork have teamed up with community groups in order to prioritise elderly people in the region when it comes to crime prevention and hygiene safety. The latest initiative has seen members of the gardaí joining Ballydehob Community Alert Group to give care packs to up to 200 elderly residents.
A garda spokesman said a high proportion of Mizen residents are over the age of 70 and that gardaí from Schull and local community groups have come together in these difficult times to ensure those cocooning are being looked after.
In early April, members of the force carried out over 50 deliveries of groceries and medicine per week to elderly people in the area, saying it allowed them an opportunity to engage with the locals.
Following the deliveries, Garda Jonathan McCarthy from Schull Garda Station worked with Ballydehob Community Alert to bring about the Care Pack Project, which is part-funded by the Cork County Council Covid Fund, the spokesman said.
The care packs contain hand sanitiser, antibacterial hand wash and wipes, hi-vis clothing, gloves, and a timer switch in line with the Garda Lock Up Light Up initiative.
It also has two credit card sleeves which prevents cards being scanned, and crime prevention material advising them of scams and home security tips.
Some recipients will have additional items included in their packs, such as books, biscuits and chocolates, the spokesman said.
Crime prevention officer, Sergeant James O Donovan said: "This initiative is to promote crime prevention and the importance of hand hygiene whilst hopefully raising the confidence of those who have been cocooning for the last number of months.
"A lot of elderly people may be slow to come out and ask for help and we think this initiative is a good way of connecting with those people. If anyone, no matter what their circumstances are, is worried or might need a helping hand, they should call us. We are here to help."
The vulnerability of many elderly people who have cocooned in recent months has also brought out the best in young people, Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe said last week.
Some 30 laptops were donated by Dublin City Council so that Localise Youth Volunteers could connect remotely with isolated elderly and vulnerable residents in nursing and care facilities in Dublin’s North Inner City.
Mr Donohoe said: "This initiative by Localise goes to the heart of the community spirit that is so evident during this difficult time."