More than 2,600 people in Galway were supported by COPE last year, as the charity dealt with the unprecedented circumstances of COVID-19.
COPE’s support for families experiencing or at risk of homelessness, women and children fleeing domestic abuse, and older people, made a big difference in the lives of 2,616 people in Galway in 2020.
The charity launched its annual report this week, detailing the efforts that have been made to adapt their operations to the pandemic, in order to continue delivering essential services.
Speaking in advance of the launch event, COPE Galway CEO Michael Smyth praised the responsiveness of the organisation’s staff and volunteers.
He also commended the strength and resilience of the people who use COPE Galway’s services, who focused on overcoming challenges in their lives during the darkest and most difficult days of the pandemic.
“We also saw a collective determination amongst a range of statutory and voluntary agencies and Galway’s wider community, to prioritise the protection of vulnerable citizens during the Covid-19 crisis,” said Mr Smyth.
“We must now build on the positives of the past 18 months, where so much has been done to improve and expand public services and to support the people with whom we work.”
In 2020 COPE Galway’s homelessness service worked with 606 single people and 138 families, including 350 children.
The domestic abuse service worked with 603 women escaping an abusive home situation. Of these approximately 13% stayed in the refuge, while others were supported in the community.
And the services for older people delivered meals, supported community projects, and organised clubs and lunches for 806 people.
Martin O’Connor, Assistant CEO, highlighted the timely and successful mobilisation of services at the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic to protect the more vulnerable people in our communities, including those whom COPE Galway support.
“We witnessed a willingness and can-do attitude amongst various agencies and community partners which made all the difference in the lives of so many.”
During the pandemic COPE managed to adapt to the new rules, setting up of additional emergency and self-isolation accommodation for homeless, and increased meal deliveries for older.
But the charity also continued to expand its services, as seen by the opening of the new domestic abuse refuge at Modh Eile House.
“We have seen the good that can be done when we work together,” said Mr. O’Connor.
“We saw first-hand the positive impacts of this collective, community effort on the lives of the people of all ages and backgrounds we work to support.”
“While we still face challenges, adopting a preventative mindset will steer us towards immunity from societal issues and to meeting basic human rights.”