GROUPS across Mid and East Antrim have demonstrated their unwavering community spirit by helping the most vulnerable and isolated in the borough.
With help from the Council’s COVID-19 Community Grant Scheme, groups have been able to apply for funding to help with essential supplies for those in the community who cannot leave their homes.
Nearly 70 community groups have applied for the grant in just over a week with the majority of them having already received the funding.
A spokesperson from Barn United Football Club in Carrickfergus, said they were working with three sections of the community to help them with essential items.
“We are putting together food hampers to be distributed to the elderly and vulnerable people of our local community as well as supporting mums and babies within our own club and also the local baby bank with nappies, food and toiletries,” they explained.
“We are also helping to support less able bodied people again with essential food items and washing materials.”
Larne Community Care Centre have reached out to vulnerable residents in the area and have had a continuous stream of referrals.
Diane Houston, from the group, said: “We have distributed a leaflet to 80 elderly and vulnerable residents within the community which outlines the group’s work in distributing care packages to those who need it.
“We are continuing to try and source new funding as the need for further care and support will only increase. So the Council’s funding has been of great benefit to our community.”
Bea McRandal, from Larne Well-Being, have allocated counselling sessions and have had to create a waiting list for the other service users.
Bea explained: “COVID-19 has had a great impact on mental health already, and effects all ages. From exam and future uncertainty to general health anxiety of self/vulnerable family members.
“Loneliness from social restrictions is also more apparent so we wanted to continue to provide our drop in service online to foster connections as an important well-being step during this time.
“We have also become aware that word is not reaching everyone that we need to as they don’t have access to the online world- so we are getting creative and looking at new ways to address that issue.”
The COVID-19 Community Support Grant Scheme is open to all constituted groups across the borough and is in addition to the usual two grants per annum available to community groups.
Food parcels which is part of an initiative being led by the Department for Communities, in conjunction with Health Trusts, local councils, the Voluntary and Community sector and the private sector are also available for any vulnerable or isolated person
If you feel you need to avail of the food parcel initiative, or know someone who does, the Freephone COVID-19 Community Helpline can be accessed by telephone on 0808 802 0020; email firstname.lastname@example.org or text ACTION to 81025.
Full details of the criteria for applications are available at www.midandeastantrim.gov.uk/covid-19/grant
More information on other sources of advice and support can be found on Council’s dedicated Coronavirus Covid-19 web page at www.midandeastantrim.gov.uk/covid-19