by Charmain Jones
A specially commissioned guest article by NICRC.
About the project: In This Together
The Rural Community Network (RCN), who are core funded by the Community Relations Council, is delivering a special digital project during the Covid-19 pandemic.
“In This Together – Rural Communities, Rural Connections” showcases local groups helping and supporting their communities. The project is led by Charmain Jones from RCN.
Providing vital support to the most marginalised
This week sees the final instalment of the In This Together programme. Over the past 5 months, Rural Community Network has collected stories from key individuals and organisations who have really stepped up to the plate and have provided vital support to the most marginalised and most in need in our rural communities.
The stories collated over the past few weeks showcase the efforts of a local GAC and a BAME project, one operating in Ballymoney and the other operating in Maghera. Both continuing to provide services and activities as we roll in and out of lockdown and spikes in Covid cases across Northern Ireland.
Building Communities Resource Centre
Building Communities Resource Centre has provided much needed outreach work which moved online in response to Covid-19, particularly working with those in the BAME community.
Their activity includes bi-lingual outreach support; mental health and well-being; support with regards to Benefits, Employment, Housing, covid-related issues like government guidelines, social distancing, interpreting and domestic violence. All ESOL classes moved online and they are also working with volunteers to provide English classes to Refugees in this area.
Watty Graham GAC
Watty Graham GAC implemented a community COVID-19 response team comprising of several dozen volunteers. A dedicated helpline number was immediately setup and in the space of 24 hours thousands of flyers detailing this support information were delivered through the letterboxes of every home in the parish.
In the weeks that followed, club volunteers put the health and wellbeing of others above their own and answered hundreds of requests for assistance which consisted of delivering groceries, prescriptions, food parcels, post office runs and much more.
Watty Graham’s also liaised closely with other local organisations such as SVDP, The LINK Centre and Mid-Ulster Council to ensure all sections of the local community were catered for and that food parcels and others requests for assistance were delivered in a prompt and discreet manner.
Supporting the Rural Community
Both of these organisations have supported the rural community with heart and hand, and continue to support them five months later and well into the future.
GR Week Event
Now that the project has come to an end, RCN will be interviewing 5 volunteers/key individuals during GR Week 2020 to reflect on the past five months and also to discuss the future as we head into the winter time.
This interview will be broadcast during GR Week on all social media platforms.
RCN is funded by the Community Relations Council’s core funding scheme. Learn more about our core funding scheme.
Read more about RCN’s In This together project here: http://www.ruralcommunitynetwork.org/programmes/programmes.aspx?id=11