As people across Ireland get used to the concept of social distancing, communities are coming together online.
Through Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp, people are showing extraordinary acts of kindness and volunteerism.
Groups have been set up for community spirit and support, educating at home, entertainment, keeping fit, and much more.
More than 50,000 people across the country are part of a coronavirus support group on Facebook.
Head of Facebook Ireland, Gareth Lambe said that Irish people are taking to these groups to help not only their communities, friends and families, but also frontline health workers, emergency service personnel and even complete strangers.
“We are seeing first-hand that when people are connected they can achieve extraordinary things,” he said.
Below is a list of some of the fantastic groups set up across Ireland on social media platforms
Countless community groups have been established to care for the most vulnerable members of society.
Across Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp people are connecting to help elderly, differently-abled, and immunocompromised neighbours, friends, family and strangers.
- Davidstown/Courtnacuddy Coronavirus Support is a Facebook Group created to ensure every member of the community is supported during this time. The group helps organise deliveries of groceries, medicine and other essentials to anyone in need.
- Ballsbridge Living has set up a WhatsApp Response Group to help elderly and vulnerable members of the community.
- Dogs in Distress is using its Facebook Page to offer deliveries of pet food and toys to the elderly and vulnerable who have pets.
- Murrough and Templemartin parishes are using Facebook Live to stream religious services into the homes of the faithful.
- Bujo Burger Joint have made their business takeaway only using an ongoing Whatsapp Video Call to take customer orders while maintaining safe social distance.
- Murray & Sons Coaches are using their Facebook Page to offer assistance to elderly and vulnerable people, who do not want to risk public transport, by bringing them to do their shopping or to attend medical appointments.
- The Pet Get Away and Feed The Heroes are rallying around frontline health workers through Facebook and Instagram by raising awareness of the work that they do. Through their pages, they are calling out for donations of food, availability of childcare workers and offering free doggie daycare while the health workers work long shifts.
Education at home
With the closure of schools and colleges across the country, many teachers, parents and experts have come together online to offer advice, support and online classes.
- Coronavirus Home Education Support is a community of over 1,200 parents on Facebook, showing support for one another when home-schooling their children sharing tips and resources during these challenging times.
- Certified Parenting Coach Aoife Lee is using Instagram Live to guide parents through the long days at home, hosting Live Q&A sessions and posting tips and advice.
- Artist Will Sliney is using Instagram Live to host art classes to his almost 10,000 followers, setting daily art challenges to keep kids at home entertained.
- Rainbow Phil, who normally plays songs for children at playgroups across North Dublin, is now using Facebook Live to broadcast song and story times to his almost 2,500 community.
- Libraries are also doing their part to keep children entertained and educated. Lucan Libraryis just one example of many libraries hosting live online storytime sessions on their Facebook Live every day for children in the area.
Entertainment and Fundraising
A host of incredible Irish artists have taken to live streaming shows on Facebook and Instagram and are bringing live music into peoples’ homes to provide some much needed entertainment.
- Snow Patrol hosted their first gig on Instagram Live with a reported 30,000 people tuning in, making it the biggest Snow Patrol gig in six months.
- Gavin James raised over €10,000 for Alone in Ireland through Facebook Fundraising by streaming a gig to his community of 500k followers on Instagram and Facebook Live.
- This week, Niall Horan played to his 23 million followers using IGTV.
- As the country celebrated St Patrick’s Day differently this year, a host of artists and entertainers got together to ensure people could celebrate while remaining socially distant; Irish artists such as Damien Dempsey, Richie Hayes, Sive and SingAlong Social streamed incredible live gigs on Facebook and Instagram Live on the day, while Radio Presenter Claire Beck hosted her music quiz on Instagram Live to her followers encouraging group participation from communities across the country.
Many fitness professionals are hosting online and live exercise programmes to keep the nation fit and healthy while at home.
- Maura Rath is hosting twice daily Yoga sessions on Instagram Live to her community of 15,000 yogis.
- KeepFit StayFit is challenging its 612 members to complete daily fitness challenges that can be completed at home to keep people moving during the crisis.
- BGR Fitness is going one step further and adding a charitable aspect to their Facebook Live workout sessions, asking participants to donate to the Irish Cancer Society, who had to cancel their annual Daffodil Day fundraiser due to Covid-19.
Facebook Ireland is working with the HSE to ensure people have access to accurate information.
The company has launched a pop-up post on Facebook Newsfeeds directing users to the HSE website, anyone who searches for ‘coronavirus’ on Facebook or Instagram will be directed to visit the HSE website, and it is giving the HSE free ads to run their information campaign across the social media platforms.
For accurate and up to date health information, go to the HSE website.