Residents of the Edgarstown estate in Portadown have received vital help from local community volunteers, thanks to funding from the Housing Executive.
Edgarstown Residents Association received £1450 from the Housing Executive’s COVID19 Response Fund, which they have used to assist elderly and vulnerable local people throughout the lockdown period.
The funding helped expand Edgarstown Residents Association’s existing support network, enabling more people to volunteer to deliver essential items to those most in need.
Essentials/activity packs containing writing materials were delivered to the most vulnerable and elderly in the area. This enabled those residents who didn’t use a telephone to keep in touch with neighbours and family by sending letters. This was co-ordinated by volunteers.
Activities, such as ‘Social Distancing Bingo’, were organised to help reduce social isolation while at home. Residents were issued with Bingo Books and volunteers from the residents association utilised open space to ‘call the balls’ during the sessions, via microphone, ensuring social distancing was maintained.
Phyllis Abraham, Chair of Edgarstown Residents Association, said: “Social distancing Bingo is proving to be a great success and we are truly thankful for being given the chance through the Housing Executive’s Fund for this to happen.
“The feedback we receive from residents make it all the worthwhile.
“Residents in Greenview Gardens said that the bingo had made their area a happier place and made it more closely knit.
“Before the social distancing Bingo, people didn't actually come out and speak to each other and now they all come out and chat waiting on our arrival.
“They even managed a VE Day celebration street party - the first one in over 20 years.
“Another area we cover is Hampton Court, which is bungalow accommodation. The bingo gave residents there, especially vulnerable residents, a chance to get a breath of air and wave at neighbours.
“For some, we are among the few people they will speak to in the course of any given week.”
Denise Conlon, Head of Communities at the Housing Executive, said: “Community groups across Northern Ireland have made incredible efforts to ensure they are assisting the most vulnerable throughout the Covid-19 lockdown period.
“As an organisation, we have been so proud to have been able to provide support to their amazing activities through our Covid-19 Response Fund and we commend them for their work.”