One thousand smartphones have been donated to provide a lifeline to some of Ireland’s most vulnerable who may be isolated by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Vodafone Ireland donated the phones to charity Alone which will distribute them to elderly people in need.
The smartphones are pre-loaded with useful apps, including WhatsApp, Facebook and Spotify along with information about online food deliveries and other important phone numbers, including the ALONE national helpline.
The company will also donate 2,000 credit top-ups worth €20 to ALONE, a charity which supports older people.
An emergency donation will also be made to Women’s Aid as the charity works to help women under increased threat from domestic abuse while trapped at home during the coronavirus crisis.
Women are calling the National Helpline every day in a heightened state of alert, trauma and anxiety because of the emergency and Women’s Aid believe that victims of domestic abuse may now be trapped in increasingly dangerous situations.
The charity expects to see an increase in the number and the severity of domestic abuse attacks throughout this period.
Speaking on the announcement, Anne O’Leary, CEO at Vodafone Ireland said: “We want to ensure that wherever possible we keep people connected with family and friends, their local supermarket or any other critical services they may require.
“We are very happy to be able to support ALONE and Women’s Aid, organisations that are working tirelessly to ensure those in need are being cared for.”
Sean Moynihan, CEO of ALONE said: “This crisis is proving particularly challenging for older people and especially those who are most vulnerable and living on their own.
“This support from Vodafone will enable older people we work with to stay linked in, and able to access any assistance they need at this time. As we are all physically distant at the moment, staying connected is more important than ever.”
Under Government advice, Vodafone Ireland retail outlets will remain open, with reduced opening hours.
To ensure those most at risk are safe and get access to services, Vodafone has implemented priority assistance for the elderly and for vulnerable groups from when stores open until 12pm (Mon-Sat) and until 2pm (Sun).
Ms O’Leary said: “At Vodafone, we believe that technology and connectivity is vital, especially for those who may be more vulnerable and isolated in our communities during this very difficult time for our country.”
- Useful information
- The HSE have developed an information pack on how to protect yourself and others from coronavirus. Read it here
- Anyone with symptoms of coronavirus who has been in close contact with a confirmed case in the last 14 days should isolate themselves from other people – this means going into a different, well-ventilated room alone, with a phone; phone their GP, or emergency department;
- GPs Out of Hours services are not in a position to order testing for patients with normal cold and flu-like symptoms. HSELive is an information line and similarly not in a position to order testing for members of the public. The public is asked to reserve 112/999 for medical emergencies at all times.
- ALONE has launched a national support line and additional supports for older people who have concerns or are facing difficulties relating to the outbreak of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) in Ireland. The support line will be open seven days a week, 8am-8pm, by calling 0818 222 024