Bere Island’s Community Call

The many community groups, volunteers and staff that make up Cork County Council’s COVID19 Community Call have shown remarkable collaboration and cooperation in recent times. The Community response on the Beara peninsula is no exception.

Bere Island Community Radio, at the heart of the community of Beara, Sheep’s Head and the Islands has been keeping local people connected, more than ever. Already a trusted source for accurate information the radio station now delivers a range of other community services in this remote, isolated region where internet accessibility is often limited. During the three hour show every Sunday, local contributors such as GP Dr Fiona Kelly provide practical advice and support to the community.

Parish Priest of Castletownbere, Fr Noel Spring broadcasts mass from his own home via the airwaves bringing comfort to parishioners locally and farther afield to a Diaspora a long way from home.

The Principal of Beara Community School Pauline Hurley updates students at morning assembly hosted on the radio. Parents, students and teachers all interact with this, helping to maintain routine and connection for the students. 

For supplies the local link bus service has been delivering groceries from Castletownbere direct to the islanders. Eileen Murphy, Bere Island, who is cocooning, has availed of the bus delivery service,

“When you’re cocooning and feeling isolated, the Local Link bus, which is very aptly named, is a link to what’s going on outside your own four walls. If you link a person to something you’re giving them a sense of being connected and that reduces the feeling of separation, it keeps you in the loop. Our driver Gemma always has a ready smile, a joke, a reassuring word, she never makes you feel like she’s being put upon. In the past we took this service for granted but in this unprecedented time it’s our social connectedness and for that we are all so grateful”.

Linking all these together is Bere Island Community Radio station master John Walsh who is also the West Cork Islands representative on the Community Call forum coordinated by Cork County Council.

Cork County Council COVID-19 Community Support Programme assists those in need with non-medical, non-health related issues that have arisen as a result of Covid-19 restrictions. Cork County Council Chief Executive, Tim Lucey, oversees the co-ordinated delivery of the Councils Community Support Programme.  Mayor of the County of Cork Cllr Ian Doyle is also a member of this multi-agency forum with representatives from across a range of statutory and voluntary organisations working collaboratively to ensure the needs of vulnerable persons are met.

Chief Executive of Cork County Council, Tim Lucey, commented

“Our Community Call Helpline has received a huge volume of calls and our Community Response Forum’s 19 Town and Rural Environs Teams across County Cork are ensuring a real presence at local level, as well as fluid coordination with all agencies. The Community Call Response on the Beara Peninsula has been exceptionally well coordinated and innovative in its approach to the unique circumstances and characteristics of Beara.”

 The Mayor of the County of Cork, Cllr Ian Doyle, commended the community of Beara, saying  

“The geographical location and wide spread community of the Beara peninsula called for new ways of thinking when it came to meeting the needs of the community during these restrictions. The Community has risen to the challenge of the Community Call and I have to commend all the volunteers and organisations involved.”

Persons seeking assistance can FREEPHONE 1800 805 819 daily from 8:00am to 8:00pm, text (085) 8709010 or email covidsupport@corkcoco.ie, those calling from outside of Ireland seeking assistance for a relative of friend, should call +353 21 4285517.

Cork County Council have issued a reminder that travel to offshore islands is limited to residents at this time. Travel to a holiday home or a second home on an offshore island for leisure or holiday purposes is not considered essential travel and is not permitted under HSE and Government Guidelines.

WCP Staff

WCP Staff Writer

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