Irish Red Cross
The Irish Red Cross has been an asset to the Portlaw community for 16 years and last year alone racked up 3,300 volunteer hours. With members ranging from 17 to 70, they provide a wide span of services ranging from acting as First Responders to cardiac events to checking in on the isolated during inclement weather. They even offer weekly training for people interested in delivering First Aid and even specialized topics like fire safety and radio procedures. With their two ambulances and a bicycle response unit, they are responsible for the health and safety of many at popular events from music festivals to sporting events.
The Irish Red Cross Portlaw aims to take the pressure off of HSE resources and also provides preventative care, like blood pressure checks. They also offer psychological support to those in need, maybe after a traumatic event, and this was hugely important during COVID. They also assist with patient transportation and are available to patients with in-home palliative care. This year they answered 50 calls of their Cardiac First Response Groups and purchased five more AEDs. They are always on call for an emergency, ready to bring their signature values of humanity, impartiality, neutrality, independence, voluntary service, unity, and universality to life.
The residents of the SignaCare Killerig nursing home love taking part in various charitable activities. The residents’ ages range from 70-95 and many of them have dementia, but this doesn’t stop them from actively working to take care of future generations. The Killerig Rudolph’s Angels are starting their second Christmas toy drive for St. Vincent de Paul this year. The residents are excited to even donate the prizes they’ve won in bingo to charities.
Knitting is a favorite way of the residents to share a hug with someone in need. Last February, 16 hats, 28 blankets, 21 little comforters, 2 cardigans, and 3 sets of booties were all donated to the Waterford Hospital NICU. LauraLynn hospice for children reports that the handknit items donated from SignaCare Killerig are popular with their patients, and always the first go!
During COVID, which was not just isolating but dangerous for those in care homes, they still had others at the forefront of their minds and announced their intention to complete 100km together with staff on the grounds of the home in order to raise money for the Cairdeas Centre, a centre for adults with intellectual disabilities and Autism. Their marathon efforts resulted in a €2250 donation.
Thrive Balbriggan is a committed group of 28 volunteers who are passionate about promoting the mental health of their local community. They focus on the importance of having open and honest conversations and education about mental health and wellbeing. Thrive’s Connect Cafes bring people together and provide a safe and designated space for socializing and building meaningful relationships. They also have a variety educational opportunities like their SafeTalk sessions that help people be aware of the warning sides of suicide and how to protect those vulnerable to suicide. They also hosted Five Ways to Wellbeing workshops to promote daily behavior and conscious efforts for wellness.
Balbriggan has a diverse ethnic, cultural, linguistic, and religious population who have different beliefs and attitudes towards mental health challenges and seeking support in crisis. Thrive helps to break down barriers, by developing a shared, respectful and mutual understanding of mental health. Thrive is supported by Mental Health Ireland and Fingal County Council, but managed and run by the local community and regularly collaborates with the local library, community restaurants, and the County Council. People across Balbriggan donate their time, talents, spaces, and enthusiasm to Thrive so as to bring awareness to the experiences of their community members.