Housing Executive funding supports ‘lifeline’ service in Newtownabbey

Four people pose with Good Morning Newtownabbey signs
Volunteers from the Good Morning Newtownabbey project L-R: Clare Patterson, Eddie Judson, Mark Cooper and Carol Patterson.

A local community group in Newtownabbey has been helping the Good Morning Newtownabbey service to continue during Covid-19, thanks to support from the Housing Executive.

Monkstown Community Association received £1,438 funding, which will allow a daily call to almost 300 residents from Ballyduff, Glengormley, Monkstown, Mossley, Rathcoole and Rathfern. It’s one of 200 groups across Northern Ireland who have benefitted from the Housing Executive’s £290,000 Covid-19 Response Fund.

Community champions have been delivering food, groceries and medicines, telephoning to check on neighbours and bringing some happiness to the streets with gardening, exercising and karaoke.

Mark Cooper, one of the Directors of Monkstown Community Association, said:

“The Good Morning Newtownabbey service has been running successfully for 14 years now, and the Housing Executive regularly refers tenants who may benefit from a daily, confidential call.

“We’ve made over 24,000 calls in the last 12 weeks, a ringing endorsement that the service is embedded in many residents’ lives.

“Many people refer to their daily call as a lifeline, with volunteers calling almost 300 customers every day.  If there is no response to any call within the hour we visit the home to make sure everything is ok.

“When lockdown came into effect, we lost rental income from local venues.

“Thanks to the Housing Executive funding we’ve been able to continue our lifeline telephone service.”

The Covid-19 Community Fund from the Housing Executive was made available by the organisation to help constituted groups and organisations respond to local residents’ needs.

Grants up to £1,500 have been distributed to dozens of community groups to assist local people, some of whom are elderly, vulnerable or shielding for health reasons.

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 are 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.”

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