Club Together Initiative Update

In March, the GAA, SuperValu and Centra came together to launch a new initiative, to support the elderly in communities during COVID-19 ‘lockdown’. It’s aim was to help those elderly that had no family and friends around to support them.  An urgent appeal to GAA Clubs across the country, to volunteer to be part of Club Together was made – Cuala was one of a number of clubs across Dublin that answered that call.

A dedicated community support helpline was provided by Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown Co Council to support this initiative – elderly and vulnerable persons could highlight their situation and then linked in with Cuala for any shopping delivery needs.

Over ninety Cuala volunteers have been involved with this initiative since it was established in early March, – delivering not just essential groceries – but also human contact and friendship so that this vulnerable group in our society feel less isolated and alone.

“A number of people that we have engaged with over the past 10-weeks would not have had any human contact from one end of the day till the next until their Cuala volunteer callsDeclan Cronin – one the organising team – offered , “so it’s a moment that they look forward to, if only to have a few minutes of friendly chat and to hear some reassurance that everything will get back to normal soon”.

More than 1,000 deliveries have been made since the COVID-19 restrictions were introduced for elderly and vulnerable members of our community – dogs have been walked, many bins have been put out and that all important ‘chat’ has been had!

According to Michael Jackson – Club Champion for the initiative – “ Its been a very humbling and fulfilling experience for myself personally, from the response of Cuala members in giving their time, the level of co-operation that we get from Supervalu, DLRCoCo (in providing the public helpline and client referrals) and the cooperation of An Garda( supporting volunteers making home deliveries)  – but more than anything else it’s the obvious appreciation shown by the person anxiously waiting at their hall door when you turn up with those groceries.

Michael and his team of volunteers are grateful to Supervalu for the level of support and effort made in making this task smoother and trouble free, “Thanks to the Supervalu staff, we have a great system in place with the stores, we have a ‘fast-check’ in operation now, it means our volunteers can go straight into the shop, do the shopping and leave via a dedicated station – which is really helpful, given that a strict queuing system operates for all customers

We have all come to appreciate the joy in the ordinary, “Its important to go the extra mile to get the exact item on the shopping list” explains Cillian Cronin, “ we all have our favourite brand for certain items and this even more so for the people that we shop for – it might even mean calling into another shop for a particular item – maintaining routine, brand trust – its very rewarding when your asked ‘did you get the Chivers raspberry jam? , to say ‘yes no problem’ and then a big sigh of relief and smile from the person your delivering too.”

Craig Finn – giving Cillian a dig out !