Our Covid-19 Community Response Experience

July 29, 2020 0

At the onset of the COVID-19 lockdown in March of this year The Order of Malta Balbriggan immediately understood that our community would need us now more than ever. We responded, as soon as HSE/WHO guidelines would allow, by forming a response team to assist the most vulnerable members of our Community; the sick, the poor, the elderly & those with disabilities to name but a few.

We set up a dedicated phoneline linking those in need directly with a member of The Order of Malta Balbriggan COVID-19 Response Team!

order of malta balbriggan unit logoDuring a challenging few months thus far, our wonderful team have volunteered for well over 250 hours. We have made countless phone calls to check in on our elderly and vulnerable to make sure they didn’t feel isolated or lack any provisions. We delivered medication & shopping. We covered shifts at COVID-19 testing centres. We provided hospital appointment transfers and more recently we have been helping our local church, St Peter & Paul’s, with sanitizing duties to get our Community back to Mass.

Throughout this extraordinary time our members have experienced the same COVID-19 stress and uncertainty as everyone else in the community. Some of our members had their leaving cert exam cancelled, others couldn’t see friends and family or access clubs and sports which they loved. Yet others lost loved ones and could not grieve in the normal way separated from friends and family by ‘social distancing’.

We were grateful to be in a position to provide a socially distanced guard of honor for our members lost loved ones, a simple expression of solidarity, love and support at such a painful time in their lives.

As an organization, we have tried very hard, in creative ways, to look after each other during this time. As well as virtual first aid training, we set up some online meetings where our members enjoyed quizzes, talent shows, scavenger hunts etc. We were astonished to learn of the many hidden talents of our members; singers, gymnasts, magicians, comedians, musicians, we couldn’t be more in awe of you all.

In a further effort to keep spirits bright, we set our members a ‘Fling-A-Sling Challenge’ which was embraced fully. In the end, we had to make a 3 part series of videos such was the enthusiastic response, you can see these hilarious videos on our facebook page. From our youngest cadet to our most senior member there was a 70 year age gap, but the challenge was embraced with equal gusto regardless of age or rank. Our members found it such a fun way to be ‘together apart’ that we thought it might be a nice way to connect with other Units too and it was. Slings are currently being flung by Order of Malta Units the length and breadth of the country.

We are only too well aware that the COVID-19 experience is far from over for us and our Community. We are grateful to each and every member of our unit for the role they have played thus far, whether it was background admin, telephone support, hospital transfers, virtual training sessions, taking our minds off things for just one evening by entertaining us, flinging slings, performing guards of honor, cleaning the church, doing someone’s shopping, phoning a friend to check in. You are all heroes in our eyes, you never faltered. Where there was a call you answered. Where there was an opportunity to help you put yourself forward. We are proud to know you and count you amongst our most treasured friends, our Order of Malta Balbriggan Family. Thank you!

We also wish to take the opportunity again to thank all the individuals, clubs and companies in our community, whose donations, both financial and of equipment such as hand sanitizer, have facilitated our continued work in the wonderful Community of Balbriggan. Thank you!

We are also grateful to you, the members of our Community, who have held fast throughout this challenging time, held fast in your adherence to social distancing, held fast to good hand hygiene and cough/sneeze etiquette, held fast in your gratitude to our frontline workers, held fast in your compliance with regulations regarding entry to shops, café’s, even each other’s homes. We appreciate your enormous sacrifice and we thank you for your patience and for doing your bit. Your actions have been key in keeping everyone in our Community as safe as possible thus far and we have no doubt that you will continue this commitment to each other’s safety in the months which will follow. We also wish to extend our deepest sympathies to those of you who have lost loved ones during this especially difficult time.

Last, but by no means least, we wish to thank the amazing team at Balbriggan Info for keeping us all abreast of all the latest news in our Community and for the opportunity to share our COVID-19 experience with you.
We continue to be available, to the vulnerable in our community, who might need us for shopping, medication collection or hospital appointment transfers on 089 2185148.

spending_moneyIn response to multiple inquiries from the public as to how best to help us in our continued work, we have set up a gofundme page, you can donate directly to our COVID-19 response fund by clicking here

We wish you all continued good health and look forward to seeing you out and about in our Community in the near future. #staysafe

For further details about The Order of Malta Ireland Ambulance Corps – Balbriggan Unit click here