CARA – a united response to Covid-19

Liverpool Irish Festival, in partnership with Irish community groups in the North West, has launched an important new programme named CARA to support our communities to stay safe, well and connected through Covid-19. Our partners include: Brian Boru Club, Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann, GAA (John Mitchels and Wolfe Tones), Institute of Irish Studies (University of Liverpool), Irish Community Care, Irish Community Care Manchester, Liverpool Irish Centre, Mersey Harps and Shenanigans. CARA is also delighted to announce that it has recently been joined by Conradh Na Gaeilge (Nov 2020).

There are many members of our communities who may need a helping hand or a listening ear to get through the Covid-19 pandemic. Many of us are older or in poor health; many of us live alone far from family and friends. We need your help.

If you would like to get involved as a volunteer (this might mean picking up the phone for a chat or picking up groceries or a prescription) please complete this short form (click link).

If you know someone who is isolated (or likely to need a bit more support during the coming months), please help spread the word to them or fill in this short form and we will take it from there (click link). Alternatively you can call 0151 237 3987 for further information

We thank you for your support. Please promote CARA – as widely as possible in our communities – to ensure we let people know that there is help available during this challenging time.

Watch a short video about the programme here.

October article:

In October, we included an article about CARA in our Fetsival Newspaper. You can see the #LIF2020LongRead here.

10 June 2020 update:

“CARA volunteers are now delivering shopping for 30 people and providing regular ‘catch up and craic’ calls to another 30 people. The digital inclusion programme is developing well.  Mary whose cataract operation was postponed due to Covid 19, so couldn’t see the TV is absolutely delighted to have a large text Kindle supplied by CARA with a whole range of cultural programmes to enjoy; James recently diagnosed with cancer is connecting with family back home through Facetime and Zoom; Josephine has been talked through the use of Facebook and is delighted with being able to connect with family and friends; simple solutions that are making all the difference. We have also been able to provide activity packs (cultural material, daily diaries, cards and postage to write to family) for people in prison who are on ‘double’ lockdown.

[Week commencing 8 June] we will publish the first edition of CARA Newsletter which promises to be an excellent read! Thanks to everyone for your contributions to date. Apologies we are unable to include every article in the first edition, they will feature in next edition (early July). And keep the information coming……..including stories, poems, pictures, remembrances etc”.

30 April 2020 update:

So far, CARA have recruited 60+ volunteers and supported 10 people with regular shopping and other practical tasks; an amazing achievement in a very short period of time. Next week, the service is set to connect people using our telephone befriending service, where volunteers will have regular chats to people who have very little social contact, providing a listening ear, craic and a focus for the day.  Please promote CARA widely; we want as many people who are isolated in our communities to hear about the project and connect with our volunteers.

We are very aware of the power of technology and the key role it plays in connecting people, even more so during Covid-19, and are acutely aware that many of our people have no access to IT or the internet. For many, this renders fantastic online programmes, activities and connections inaccessible. We are looking at ways to address this, including a monthly printed and posted CARA newsletter and exploring how we can get people more digitally included.

We were extremely pleased to see CARA featured in The Irish Post. You can read the article here.