Organisations praised by Poots for Covid-19 response

POOTS COMMUNITY RI Farm
ABOVE: DAERA Minister Edwin Poots pictured visiting Via Wings with Communities Minister Carál Ní Chuilín and Gail Redmond, founder Via Wings in Dromore County Down.

RURAL Minister Edwin Poots and Communities Minister Carál Ní Chuilín have visited Via Wings in Dromore, County Down, to thank them and other voluntary and community groups, for their help during the Covid-19 crisis.

Via Wings was set up in 2009 to address the needs of disadvantaged families and individuals living in Dromore and surrounding areas and provides services such as mums and preschool group, after schools homework club, children’s summer activities, hospitality and catering training and work placement programmes, older people’s weekly luncheon club, wellbeing programmes and community food store and homemade meal distribution.

Speaking after the visit, Minister Poots said: “Via Wings is a vital resource for rural communities and has made a massive contribution to the local area, not only in terms of trying to break the cycle of generational poverty, isolation and loneliness, but also in dealing with other issues such as addiction, abuse, mental health and crisis.

“Covid-19 created a range of challenges, previously considered unimaginable and it was at this time of crisis, that Government turned to its partners in the voluntary and community sector for help. It was no surprise that Via Wings, like many of our voluntary and community organisations, kicked into action.

“Via Wings visited almost 500 people, providing regular food parcels and also pastoral care in the form of hundreds of phone calls and socially distanced visits. I’d like to thank you, and the many hundreds of similar organisations, for your efforts, which I’m positive saved lives.”

Communities Minister Carál Ní Chuilín also praised the work of the voluntary and community sector during Covid-19. Minister Ní Chuilín said: “As we transition from the lockdown period I want to reflect on how grateful I am to the voluntary and community sector for their incredible efforts in supporting communities and individuals through the pandemic. Right across the sector, we have seen voluntary and community based organisations mobilise their own support activities at pace, while feeding into and supporting Government led responses.

“I am delighted to be here today to visit Via Wings and to hear about the role they have played in supporting their communities during the pandemic and I look forward to continued collaboration with the Voluntary and Community sector as we move into a recovery phase.”

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