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New Kerry COVID-19 phoneline launched this morning (Monday)

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A new free and confidential Kerry phone helpline has been launched this morning (Monday) to assist members of the public in accessing non-emergency and non-medical services and to provide support and advice to people during the current public health emergency.

The service has been established by the new COVID-19 Kerry Community Response Forum which includes over a dozen agencies and organisations who have come together to mobilise and coordinate the community and voluntary response to the current crisis, particularly in responding to the needs of vulnerable households and individuals.

The freephone number 1800 807 009 is now up and running and will be available from 8am to 8pm seven days a week. A text line (50555), is also available for the hearing impaired or those who require a call-back from the service while requests can also be e-mailed to covidsupport@kerrycoco.ie.

The helpline, which is manned by trained volunteers, is focussed primarily on ensuring that vulnerable members of the community or those living alone can access deliveries of essential items like groceries, medicine and fuel. Where another agency or organisation can provide more appropriate information or advice, the caller will be connected with other organisations or services if required.

10,000 information leaflets including details of the new freephone number and other information are being distributed around the county over the coming days. This will be done through existing networks like the Kerry Public Participation Network, sporting organisations, local development companies and hundreds of community and voluntary groups across the county.

“The group wants to harness the energy and generosity of people who have come forward to offer support to people in the community who require assistance and advice,” Niamh O’Sullivan, Head of Kerry County Council’s Community Department, said.

“The aim is to ensure that a coordinated, safe and reliable volunteer support network is available to those in need and that people in need of that assistance know who to contact for advice. Our work will complement much of the voluntary work which already taking place in communities across Kerry.”

Hillary Scanlan, Community Work Manager with the HSE, added that there is a very long and proud history of voluntary and community activity in Kerry and also a strong commitment from the state agencies to work in partnership with communities to develop local responses to unmet need.

“The community and voluntary sector has again stepped up to respond to the current COVID-19 crisis and ensure that basic needs of food, fuel, and medications are being provided.”

Chief Superintendent Eileen Foster of the Kerry Garda Division said that an Garda Síochána is here to reassure and support the community during the weeks ahead.

“We are working with other agencies as one for the benefit of all.”
Included in the COVID-19 Kerry Community Response Forum are:
• Health Service Executive
• Kerry County Council
• An Garda Síochána
• Kerry Red Cross
• Kerry Civil Defence
• Kerry Volunteer Centre
• North East and West Kerry Development
• South Kerry Development Partnership
• IRD Duhallow
• Kerry GAA
• Kerry Public Participation Network (representing 700 approx. community groups in Kerry)
• Kerry Age Friendly Network
• Local Link Kerry
• St Vincent de Paul Society
• Kerry IFA
• Citizens Information Service
• Other community, voluntary and sports representatives

The Group came together to complement and reinforce the tremendous work already underway across the county as communities respond to the needs of the community and it aims to ensure that any gaps in existing provision can be addressed and coordinated centrally.

The group is asking members of the public to share the phone number with elderly or vulnerable neighbours.

PHONE: 1800 807 009
TEXT ‘SUPPORT’ and your NAME to 50555
EMAIL: covidsupport@kerrycoco.ie

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KNOW YOUR RIGHTS: Return to work courses

Answer: Springboard+ provides free higher education courses for people who are unemployed (or were self-employed) and those looking to return to the workforce. Courses are offered in different areas including Information and Communications Technology (ICT), medical technologies, cybersecurity, sustainable energy and financial services. The courses range from certificate to master’s degree level – Levels 6 […]

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Answer: Springboard+ provides free higher education courses for people who are unemployed (or were self-employed) and those looking to return to the workforce.

Courses are offered in different areas including Information and Communications Technology (ICT), medical technologies, cybersecurity, sustainable energy and financial services.

The courses range from certificate to master’s degree level – Levels 6 to 9 on the National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ). Most of the courses are part-time and last for one year or less, but there are some full-time courses.
You can access a free Springboard+ course, if you are getting a qualifying social welfare payment such as Jobseeker’s Allowance, Jobseeker’s Benefit or the COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP). You can get a full list of qualifying payments for Springboard+ on citizensinformation.ie

If you are not getting a qualifying social welfare payment, you will have to meet the residency criteria for Springboard+.

You can also apply for a Springboard+ course if:

* You are a qualified adult of working age (under 66) on someone else’s social welfare payment
* You are signing for social insurance credits
* You are on an employment support scheme such as Community Employment (CE) or TUS

To apply for a Springboard+ course, you choose the course(s) you are interested in on springboardcourses.ie and apply online, following the instructions on the website. You can apply for up to 10 courses, but you can only take one course.

If you are getting a social welfare payment, you should notify your Intreo Centre or local Social Welfare Branch Office and check what further steps (if any) you need to take.
If Springboard+ doesn’t meet your needs, there are several other ways to go back to education.
_______________________________________________________________________

During COVID-19, you can find comprehensive integrated information online at citizensinformation.ie/covid19/ and you can get daily updates on what’s changed on Twitter at @citizensinfo. You can also get information and advice from:

Tralee on Tel: Call 0761 07 7860, Monday – Friday (10am-4pm)
The Citizens Information Phone Service: Call 0761 07 4000, Monday to Friday, 9am – 8pm
Our national call back service: Visit citizensinformation.ie/callback to request a phone call from an information officer

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New Patient Advocacy Service offering support to Kerry people

A newly established Patient Advocacy Service is offering support to people in the Kerry area who want to make a complaint about the care they have received in a public hospital. The service provides free, independent and confidential information and support to people making a formal complaint about their care in a Health Service Executive […]

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A newly established Patient Advocacy Service is offering support to people in the Kerry area who want to make a complaint about the care they have received in a public hospital.

The service provides free, independent and confidential information and support to people making a formal complaint about their care in a Health Service Executive (HSE) funded public acute hospital.

People in the Kerry area looking for support can contact the Patient Advocacy Service confidential helpline on 0818 293003 to speak to a trained advocate who will help them to get information on the HSE’s complaints investigation process, called ‘Your Service, Your Say’.

The professionally trained independent advocate will support and empower the person making the complaint, with the aim of highlighting their views and concerns.

The advocate will explain to the person how to write a formal complaint and what to include in it. They will also help the person prepare for meetings with the HSE about their complaint, and they will help the person explore their options following a response from the HSE to their complaint.

“Until now, people in Kerry and across Ireland who experienced difficulties in the Irish health service often felt there was nowhere for them to turn,” Service Manager for the Patient Advocacy Service, Claire Lehane, said.

GUIDANCE

“The newly established Patient Advocacy Service offers patients the guidance and information they need to make a complaint when they are unhappy with the care they receive. It is free, independent and run by our professionally trained patient advocates who will use their compassion and knowledge to guide people through the HSE complaints process.”

The helpline is open Monday to Friday from 10am until 4pm, including lunchtimes. You can also email info@patientadvocacyservice.ie or for more information see patientadvocacyservice.ie.

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