Beara ‘meals on wheels’ service could grow legs

August 12th, 2021 5:10 PM

By Southern Star Team

From left: Julie O’Neill, the Caha Centre; Aideen Murphy, Beara West Family Resource Centre; Evie Finlay, HSE Cork South community work department and Tim Hanley, Bere Island Projects Group.

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ORGANISERS of a community ‘meals on wheels’ service which was set up on the Beara peninsula at the start of the pandemic, are inviting suggestions from the community to see how the service can evolve.

The service is run by three community groups on the peninsula, the Beara West Family Resource Centre, the Caha Centre and Bere Island Projects Group, and each organises a weekly hot meal to be delivered to older or vulnerable residents living in their catchment areas.   

The initiative first came about as a way to ensure that those most at risk were not forgotten or neglected during the first lockdown. Funding was received from the HSE which allowed the organisations to provide the meals at a cost of €5 to the service user. The meals are prepared by local restaurants and a team of volunteers deliver the meals to over 100 households throughout the peninsula one day a week.

The community groups have now received funding from the HSE Cork South community work department and Cork Kerry Community Healthcare and have appointed an independent community consultant Paul O’Raw to undertake a feasibility study on the future direction of the service.

As well as providing a nutritious meal, the service was a vital social contact for those receiving the meals, especially those who were cocooning.

Aideen Murphy, who is the project worker for older people at the Beara West Family Resource Centre, said it was a way of maintaining contact with people throughout the pandemic.

‘Although a lot of people in Beara are geographically isolated, they were very much connected socially, through regular visits from family, or they visited the Day Care Centre at Castletownbere Hospital,’ she said. ‘However, with the various travel restrictions, the volunteers who deliver the meals have been a vital social contact for them.’

Aideen also extended thanks to the team of volunteers who deliver the meals.

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