Foyle MLA Mark H Durkan visited Eglinton Community Centre today to thank local volunteers from Eglinton Churches Together for working in partnership with Eglinton Community Centre to serve the needs of local people self-isolating or feeling vulnerable during the current ‘lockdown’.
When it became clear that the government was moving towards a lockdown, local clergymen Rev Canon Paul Hoey (St Canice’s Church of Ireland), Fr Noel McDermott (Faughanvale RC parish) and Rev Lindsay Blair (Faughanvale Presbyterian Church) teamed up with Debbie Caulfield, the Manager of Eglinton Community Centre, to co-ordinate a local response.
Mr Durkan remarked on how the experience of working together after the August 2017 flood had enabled the Eglinton community to hit the ground running and get badly-needed, practical help out to local people within a few days of the lockdown announcement.
A leaflet describing the kind of support available – help with shopping, collecting prescriptions, posting mail and telephone support – was delivered to 6,000 local homes, mostly by volunteers going door to door. The services are greatly appreciated by those who use them, and many positive comments have been made about the lifeline it provides.
Mr Durkan commended ECT/ECC for their effective organisation, for example by supplying high-visibility jackets and volunteer cards, giving volunteers ‘fast track’ access to local shops and the village chemist. He also noted how volunteers had been assisting Lloyd’s chemist with the delivery of prescription medications, and delivering District Council food parcels to those most in need, especially people with Shielding Letters.
“I am here to express the gratitude of the wider community to the 90 people who have volunteered to date – willingly giving time to support their neighbours and friends in this Community,” Mr Durkan said. “I’m grateful to them all.”
Echoing Mr Durkan’s warm words of appreciation to the volunteers, Canon Hoey said, “I’ve been impressed, but not surprised, by the response of this community. Not a day goes by without me hearing of the impact the sacrificial service offered by our volunteers is making on the lives of many individuals. I thank God for the opportunity to be part of it.”