The Irish Red Cross and Age Action have launched a new Covid-19 Hardship Fund to respond to the needs of older people in vulnerable situations.
The two charities have raised funds in anticipation of additional supports which will needed by those most at risk of Covid-19 as this pandemic progresses.
Galway East TD Seán Canney praised the fund, saying that it’s clear that some older people in vulnerable situations will need additional supports in the coming weeks of the crisis.
“Particularly as they are now required to cocoon to protect themselves and others,” the Independent TD added.
“This new scheme is designed to provide immediate practical relief to assist in alleviating the hardships they experience due to the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The fund works by making once-off grants of up to €500 per person/household affected, and applications can be made by the person affected themselves, or by family members, carers, voluntary organisations, or social workers supporting older people.
The grants can be used to meet a wide range of costs and needs, including:
- Small household maintenance, repairs and safety improvements
- Food and basic provisions and associated delivery costs
- Upgraded or New Small Appliances (fridge, freezer, washing machine, TV, cooker, etc.)
- Providing Digital Technology Equipment, for example, smartphones or tablets
- Contribution towards increased energy costs or telephone bills
- Contribution towards additional home or personal security costs
- Contribution towards additional travel costs for essential reasons (medical appointments, etc.)
Galway City Councillor Eddie Hoare said that this is a “very useful resource” for the more vulnerable members of the community.
He said that this could help them them stay connected and informed, such as by purchasing a tablet or other device to to keep in touch with loved ones or get online access to local news.
People can apply to the hardship fund via the application form on the Red Cross or Age Action’s website, or by emailing Hardship2020@redcross.ie.
People who do receive a grant are asked to verify that it was spent on its intended purpose by supplying receipts, and photographic evidence where possible.
The closing date for applications to the Covid-19 fund is August 31, 2020. The Irish Red Cross and Age Action will be assessing applications on a weekly basis, and will notify successful applicants as soon as possible.