Our Senior Support Service

 In 2020 COPE Galway supported



Our Senior Support Service

 In 2020 COPE Galway supported



68,755 Meals

produced and delivered
to 735 people


Helpline Calls


Individuals Helped
via FEAD Programme


Christmas Hampers


Food Bag


Support Calls
(Lockdown ONE)

Senior Support Service in 2020 

Throughout 2020 COPE Galway’s Senior Support Services worked to support independent ageing at home thereby helping older people in our community to stay in their own home for as long as they wish to do so. Reacting quickly to the coronavirus pandemic in March, you will read below how we moved swiftly to ensure we could continue to offer the services and supports needed to ensure ongoing nutritious meals, regular social contact and responsiveness to emerging issues. We appreciate all the goodwill and support we received from across our community and we extend a sincere thanks to all on behalf of those who very much appreciate your generosity and commitment.

Responsiveness, Adaptability and Collaboration during Covid-19

Our team of staff and volunteers have been working together to support older people throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.

We made an initial phone call to engage with over 182 older people known to us through our meals service, drop-in centre and community projects to offer help and practical supports we had put in place for those who needed it – shopping, prescription and pension collection.

Over time, the focus of our support shifted from the practical towards identifying ways to support individuals’ mental and physical health – we distributed knitting kits, library books, exercise sheets and dvds to our client base and cocooning volunteers.

Nutritional Support during a Pandemic 

COPE Galway’s Community Catering service was in a position to immediately respond to the enormous increase in demand for meals as a result of Covid-19 restrictions. In our determination to secure the continuity of our services, to rapidly scale up, ensure contingency and compliance with Covid-19 guidelines, we added two additional production shifts and divided our core team across these shifts. For their safety, some of our long-standing older volunteers had to step down. We also benefited from the expertise of new volunteers from the hospitality industry and other sectors whose companies closed temporarily. The new system remains in place and thankfully, meals were delivered on schedule every day.

“It’s not just the meals,” he says, “Mum really likes having a chat with the volunteer who delivers the meals to the door twice a week”.

Ronan (Son of Julia), Food Delivery Recipient

Responding & Reaching Out

Social Supports for Older People 

We offer a wide range of one-to-one and group social supports. Much of our work revolves around three housing clusters in Mervue, Renmore and in the city centre. We are also responsive to individuals living in the east side of the city.

2020 restrictions were hard on so many older people who missed their usual activities, lunch clubs and general social life. Every opportunity to continue to support people across all three housing complexes in whatever way they needed became paramount. The residents have shown extraordinary resilience and ability
to adapt and learn new skills.

During restrictions, our Sonas Day Centre in Mervue continued to be a point of contact for people who would normally use the service. Staff remained on site each day to reach out and respond to people, offering information and help with any emerging issues. We kept in contact through regular phone calls, offering shopping, prescription, pension collections and meal deliveries.

Artist in the Community Project

Artist Aoife Barrett facilitated an ‘Artist in the community’ art project for residents at the Mervue housing cluster throughout 2020, building on previous art class interactions while safely engaging with the community during restrictions. The project focused on using traditional communication tools for distance engagement, setting up systems for ongoing community dialogue and promoting value in everyday skills.. 

“It has never been more important to reclaim our outdoor public spaces and use them to engage with each other and our surroundings in new, creative and safe ways.”

Aoife Barrett, Artist.

Describing his food delivery runs, Donal said, “A lot of the people you’re delivering to wouldn’t have any other interaction with people during the day at all. Quite often, you’re the only person they see.”

Donal, Food Delivery Volunteer

TIME to Care

As ongoing restrictions enforced isolation for many, we felt it especially vital that we reach out in other ways to ensure those who are self-isolating still have ways to connect with others. We developed TIME to Care – a phone befriending programme delivered by a team of volunteers who are trained and supported to become one-to-one befrienders via telephone, reaching out to older people who feel isolated or lonely.

“An old school phone call
can go a long way.”

Arielle Locke

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