Irish Chaplaincy Services in Response to Coronavirus / Covid-19
Our office closed on March 17th and all staff are now working from home. We are not able, for the time being, to go into prisons or to visit the elderly or others in person but we are still very much available to help in other ways.
Support to Irish prisoners and to Travellers in prison is being maintained via phone and letter, and more use is being made of ‘e-mail a prisoner’.
During this period we will assess which prisoners are currently in most desperate need of support, and will alert the relevant prison, besides doing what we can remotely. We continue to support the families of prisoners, and to be in touch with various prison departments such as Chaplaincy and Probation. At what will be a particularly challenging time for prisoners we will endeavour to send out in-cell resources such as puzzles. We will be contacting all prisoners on our books (1,000+) to give reassurance, to ask how we can help at the present time, and to give an Easter message of hope.
There is enhanced phone contact, offering support and a comforting presence and also to gauge needs including shopping, medicines etc; and we are co-ordinating existing volunteers and others who have offered to help at this time to reach out to elderly, isolated Irish in London.
The team has begun to deliver food parcels and other items (e.g. a microwave for one person, DVDs for another). The team is also reaching out to people in Ireland (via our contacts there) who may have concerns about an elderly relative in London.
The team is linking in with LIC Welfare, with whom some clients are shared.
General Outreach Service
The Irish Chaplaincy is still available, as it has been since 1957, to give any kind of support to Irish people, or those of Irish heritage, across England and Wales, and this is currently via phone and e-mail. We are also making enhanced use of website and social media for support, advice, networking and general reassurance and encouragement.
Here to Help
If you need our help in any way, or if you know of somebody that may need our help, then please get in touch. And attached to this message are some resources and contacts which may be of use at the current time.
And if you think you can help us in any way, we’d love to hear from you.
In these troubling times: Stay safe, Stay well, and Stay in touch.
Eddie Gilmore, CEO