Irish Red Cross members in the Clare area have recorded 3240 voluntary hours since the beginning of Covid-19.
The dedicated volunteers in the county’s four branches have been busier than ever since the beginning of the pandemic, despite Covid-related restrictions curtailing many of their usual duties.
Now, for National Volunteering Week (21st September – 27th), they are asking the people of Clare to consider becoming an Irish Red Cross Volunteer to help support the vulnerable in their community.
James Lafferty, Ennis Branch Community Support Officer, says that while there was an influx of volunteers during Ireland’s first lockdown, many of those volunteers have since returned to their day jobs and don’t have as much time to deliver groceries, collect prescriptions or transport people to routine appointments.
“I know some people think you need special skills to be a volunteer but every pair of hands is appreciated and drivers with a D license are especially needed at the moment to help with transporting people to medical appointments,” he said.
Transport services for people who need to attend routine hospital appointments are in high demand due to public transport restrictions and the fact that the people travelling are considered high risk to Covid-19. James says that that their community support vehicles are constantly on the road.
“Unfortunately we can’t help everybody but we are doing our level best to ensure that we’re there for people who need to get to medical appointments. Sometimes that means being up at three o’clock in the morning to bring someone to a hospital in Dublin but often they have no other way to get where they need to be.
“Sometimes a person needs transport to a medical appointment that’s very far away and they might not necessarily be able to afford the added travel costs. If they don’t have to worry about the cost of transport or how they’re going to get to the appointment then they can just focus on their own health needs. Our volunteers collect people from their homes, bring them to their appointments and drop them safely home afterwards. If we had more volunteer drivers, we could run that service more frequently and offer extra support to people in similar circumstances. That’s why the support services that the Irish red Cross offer in Clare, and the rest of the country, are so vitally important.”
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