‘Now is the time to build on the positive, successful measures introduced during Covid-19 response’
While 2020 was a year of unprecedented challenge due to the Covid-19 global pandemic, it was also a year in which we witnessed the very best of society.
As COPE Galway launch their Annual Report on Wednesday 8th September, attendees will hear about the mobilisation, adaption and development of the organisation’s services, which continued uninterrupted during the pandemic. The charity’s work ensured the safety and protection of 2,616 people in Galway in 2020, including individuals and families experiencing homelessness; women and children affected by domestic abuse and older people who require social and nutritional support.
Speaking in advance of the launch event, COPE Galway CEO Michael Smyth praised the responsiveness, adaptability, and resilience of the organisation’s staff and volunteers. He also commended the strength and resilience of the people who use COPE Galway’s services, who focused on overcoming challenges in their lives during the darkest and most difficult days of the pandemic. Some of their stories feature at the heart of this report.
“We also saw a collective determination amongst a range of statutory and voluntary agencies and Galway’s wider community, to prioritise the protection of vulnerable citizens during the Covid-19 crisis,” said Mr Smyth. “We must now build on the positives of the past 18 months, where so much has been done to improve and expand public services and to support the people with whom we work.”
2020 saw positive developments in areas for which COPE Galway had long sought change. These included specific Garda and national campaigns to address the exponential increase in domestic abuse; new efforts to prevent homelessness such as the moratorium on evictions and freezing of rent levels; and increased supports at a local level for older people, including initiatives to address negative narratives and attitudes around ageing.
Martin O’Connor, Assistant CEO, highlighted the timely and successful mobilisation of services at the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic to protect the more vulnerable people in our communities, including those whom COPE Galway support. “We witnessed a willingness and can-do attitude amongst various agencies and community partners which made all the difference in the lives of so many.”
This allowed not only the continuation of COPE Galway’s services during the pandemic, but also their further development and expansion, including the setting up of additional emergency and self-isolation accommodation for homeless; the completion and opening of the new domestic abuse refuge at Modh Eile House and meeting increased demand for the preparation and delivery of meals to people in their own homes to support them to remain safe.
“We have seen the good that can be done when we work together,” said Mr. O’Connor. “We saw first-hand the positive impacts of this collective, community effort on the lives of the people of all ages and backgrounds we work to support. While we still face challenges, adopting a preventative mindset will steer us towards immunity from societal issues and to meeting basic human rights by the provision of timely access to adequate, appropriate housing; safety for women and children in a society that does not tolerate domestic abuse and access to services that support us in older age to allow us to continue living in our own homes.”
Dr Michael Ryan of the World Health Organisation will give the keynote address at the online launch of COPE Galway’s annual report for 2020 on Wednesday, 8th September, 12pm.
2020 Impact Highlights:
- COPE Galway’s Homeless Service worked with 1,157 individuals comprising 807 adults and 350 children. These figures were made up of 138 family and 606 single person households.
- 603 women availed of COPE Galway’s domestic abuse service – approximately 13% of these stayed in the refuge, while the service supported other women in the community.
- COPE Galway worked with 856 older people across their meals services, community support projects, lunch clubs and befriending programmes.
- COPE Galway’s meals service produced 68,755 meals in 2020.
Contact Colette Coughlan, COPE Galway Communications and Marketing
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COPE Galway is a local Galway organisation whose vision is for a community where every person is valued, cared for and supported at every stage of life. Last year, COPE Galway supported 2,616 men, women, children and young people across the city and county.
The COPE Galway Approach is one of understanding, respect and response to positively impact the lives of people who struggle with the challenges of homelessness and domestic abuse and supports older people towards healthy and active ageing. This approach recognises that each person has attributes and strengths that can make positive differences in their own lives.
COPE Galway has been providing essential social services across these three service areas to the people of Galway on behalf of the state since the 1970s. They offer support services from 11 locations across the city with a team of 170 employees and 180 volunteers.
COPE Galway’s strategy for 2020-2025 focuses the organisation on its mission: Making a difference by empowering people, creating change and strengthening communities. COPE Galway places its values – rights, respect, hope, community, safety and professionalism – at the heart of its work in the community.