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National Call for Staff to join The Crisis Cover Initiative

Homeless and disability charities have issued an urgent appeal to ask members of the public to register as COVID 19 emergency staff.

A number of leading homeless and disability organisations have come together to urge the public to become ‘ordinary heroes’ to prevent services to vulnerable people from having to shut their doors during the coronavirus pandemic.

Under the umbrella of the Crisis Cover Initiative, organisations including Depaul, Novas, Dublin Simon, Walk, Sophia Housing, and others are asking members of the public with relevant qualifications and experience to add their name to a list of individuals who may be called on to step up where staff levels in services become depleted by personnel having to take time off.

A range of skill sets and roles are required including reception and cleaning staff, as well as specialist supports such as disability care workers, healthcare workers, and project workers.

Speaking about the initiative, Una Burns, Head of Policy and Communications in Novas, said: “Our services are homes for some of the most vulnerable people in Ireland. We absolutely must keep them open at this time.”

She continued: “The HSE have issued ‘a call for Ireland’ to ensure adequate cover for health services, and we are adding our voices to that – NGOs provide another opportunity for people to work in a variety of roles in essential services.”

David Carroll, CEO of Depaul, added: “We are worried that will be left in a position where we must close services due to too many staff having to take time off. We need people to step up and become ordinary heroes. We know it’s asking a lot, but it’s no more than we are asking of doctors, nurses, Gardai and others who have to go to work every day at this difficult time.”

“Many people have found themselves without employment in the last week. For those who have experience in working in care, teaching or social support services or in cooking, transport or reception, this initiative can connect them to services that vitally need their skills,” said Caroline Gardner, co-founder of Quality Matters.

Prof Anthony Staines, the chairperson of the Quality Matters, the charity managing Crisis Care, said: “Ensuring we keep services running for the most vulnerable is vitally important. This initiative plays an important role in connecting people who can help with those that need it. In relation to staff risk of catching COVID 19, these organisations are all taking advice on safety from the HSE, and will be continually adapting this as new advice is available, however these roles are not recommended for people with underlying health conditions, or who are living with people who do.”

For more information, visit www.crisiscover.ie.

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