GCCN News 2020
16th December

Welcome to this edition of GCCN Network News. Below we have information on:

GCCN Network News

  • GCCN Monthly Update: December 2020 - read here
  • €40M Programme for Improved Sports Facilities and Equipment read here
  • Age Friendly Housing Technical Advisor in every Local Authority in Ireland - read here
Events, Campaigns and Initiatives
  • Galway Traveller Achievement Awards 2020 read here
  • Keep Well - Let’s Get Ireland Walking into 2021 - read here
  • Singing for Health and Wellbeing Survey - read here
Resources and Supports
  • ‘Numbers If You Need Them’ – Connecting For Life read here
  • Free Quit Smoking West Service - read here
  • Minding Your Wellbeing: Online Mental Health and Wellbeing Programme - read here
  • Galway City & Other National Consultations  - read here
  • FoodCloud Appeal to Charities that Use Food as Part of Their Service  - read here
  • REMINDER: Community Water Development Fund 2021  - read here

COVID-19 Related Updates

  • Minister for Health announces National COVID-19 Vaccination Strategy - read here
  • Message from Covid-19 Stakeholder Communications Support and Updates: 16 Dec - read here
  • HSE and Age Action launch older-age friendly guide to COVID Tracker App - read here
  • Galway City COVID-19 Community Call Helpline - read here
  • Keep Well Campaign - read here
  • Reminder: Support for the Older People - read here
  • Galway City Community Response Map - read here

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GCCN Network News

GCCN Monthly Update
December 2020

GCCN aims to keep all members updated on the ongoing GCCN work and activities through the means of a report shared with the newsletter on a monthly basis. Please read here the December report.

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€40M Programme for Improved
Sports Facilities and Equipment

The Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, Catherine Martin T.D., and the Minister of State for Sport and the Gaeltacht, Jack Chambers T.D., confirmed that the Department is accepting applications from today (11th December) under the new round of the Sports Capital and Equipment Programme.
The closing date for submitting applications is the 12th February while the deadline for clubs registering on the Department’s online application system is the 1st February. 
The Minister of State, Jack Chambers T.D., urged applicants not to leave the application process to the last minute.
 “While applicants have until the 12th February to submit their applications, I would urge people not to leave it until the last minute. The upcoming holiday period provides a good opportunity for clubs to get registered on, familiarise themselves with the guide and undertake any other preparatory work in advance of formally submitting their application”.

Age Friendly Housing Technical Advisor in every Local Authority in Ireland
Press Release

On Tuesday the 8th of December, in Dublin’s Custom House, Minister of State for Planning and Local Government, Peter Burke, TD, Department of Housing, Local Government & Heritage, officially launched the local authority based 31 Age Friendly Technical Advisors.

This launch is an important occasion, representing another substantial development in the joint policy statement, Housing Options for Our Ageing Population which was launched in February 2019 by both Department of Housing and Department of Health. Age Friendly Ireland has supported the development and implementation of the policy document and in response to Action 4.13: ‘Local Authorities will identify and assign an individual on their housing teams to work with older people in terms of sourcing appropriate accommodation’, all Local Authorities have assigned a staff member to undertake this role so that this resource is available in all of the 31 local authorities across the country.

Speaking at the launch, Minister Burke said: ‘The specific Action which brings us here today is Action 4.13, which introduced a novel idea that local authorities should appoint a member of staff as a technical advisor on age friendly housing with the intent that this person would be a resource for older people, for the local authorities, and indeed for anyone who wants to access information about age friendly housing. In late 2019, my Department wrote to the Chief Executives of local authorities asking them to do this, and, in the wholehearted way in which they have embraced other elements of the Age Friendly Ireland programme they all agreed to do so.’

On behalf of the Local Authority sector, Jackie Maguire, Chief Executive of Meath County Council, host to the Age Friendly Ireland Shared Service said: ‘Today’s launch is a significant occasion, representing another substantial development in the joint departmental housing policy and also acknowledging the sterling work of local authorities, both Departments, the Age Friendly shared service and partner organisations on the Implementation Group.’

In July 2020 Ireland’s new Programme for Government pledged a mission and vision of an Age
Friendly Ireland. The approach taken in the agreed programme for government is to support older
people to live in their own homes and communities with dignity and independence, for as long as

Read the full press release here.

Events, Campaigns and Initiatives

Galway Traveller Achievement Awards 2020
Celebrating Resilience
“The Heart of the Traveller People”

Friday 18th December - 7.00 – 8.00pm

Join Galway Traveller Movement (GTM) on Friday 18th December from 7pm to 8pm for the Annual Galway Traveller Achievements Awards 2020 which will showcase the wealth of talent and achievements from the Traveller community in the following categories Community, Education, Music, Art and Culture, Sports, Enterprise/Employment, Young Person award. The winners will be announced on this occasion.

As part of the ceremony, GTM will be showcasing a special achievement - GTM Resilience Project calling for the Right to Mental Health and wellbeing for the Traveller Community. The Traveller community in County Galway will share their knowledge and skills of getting through hard times, and how the community keep their hopes for equality and freedom alive. The stories will be presented using short films to generate discussion.

We hope that the Traveller community and friends will join us to celebrate the achievements.
To join the online awards ceremony please visit on Friday 18th December at 7pm.

Download the flyer here.

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Keep Well - Let’s Get Ireland Walking into 2021
21-day campaign

Sport Ireland, Get Ireland Walking and Healthy Ireland are encouraging people of all ages to walk into 2021 by taking part in the recently launched Keep Well Walking Challenge. Walking is the most accessible form of physical activity with no special equipment or locations required. Sport Ireland, Get Ireland Walking and Healthy Ireland are looking to get as many people as possible out and active for at least 30 minutes a day for the remaining 21 days of December, bringing a healthy habit forward to the New Year.

To support this, Get Ireland Walking has produced a new app that will allow users to keep a record of their walking and help all participants to stay motivated. The handy app will provide useful tips on advice on how to build walking into everyday routines.

As part of the 21-day campaign, well-known people from across Ireland will share their favourite walk of 2020, whether it is a socially distanced walk with a loved-one or simply a lunchtime escape from the bedroom office.

The Keep Well Walking Challenge is part of Keep Well. The Keep Well campaign is aimed at showing people of all ages how we can mind our own physical and mental health and wellbeing by adding healthy and helpful habits to our daily and weekly routines. It provides guidelines, information, and tips on how we can make a plan to do things that will help us keep well through the coming months.
To download the Get Ireland Walking App visit:

For more details visit: 

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Singing for Health and Wellbeing Survey

The University of Limerick is thrilled to launch this first-ever, nationwide survey of singing for health and wellbeing groups! Their aim is to compile a resource of singing for health and wellbeing opportunities in Ireland and get more people singing and the survey will help finding out:

  • Where in Ireland singing for health and wellbeing is happening,
  • When these opportunities ordinarily take place,
  • Who is singing with you,
  • And how to support singers’ health and wellbeing!·        

If interested, please complete the survey by 31 December, 2020 if you run such a choir and help spread the word.  

Find further details at the link:

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Resources and Supports

‘Numbers If You Need Them’ – Connecting For Life

Galway, Mayo & Roscommon

As part of the Government’s Keep Well campaign, people in Galway, Mayo and Roscommon are being urged to pay extra attention to their mental health this winter as they grapple with COVID-19’s impact on daily living. “Winter is often a difficult time as we cope with shorter days and poorer weather, and this winter COVID-19 adds another layer of challenge” said Mary McGrath of Connecting for Life (Galway, Mayo and Roscommon).

Connecting for Life, a suicide prevention action plan for the three counties in Community Healthcare West, has produced a Numbers If You Need Them’ poster and a pocket-sized card containing key contact points to support those who find themselves struggling with their mental health. “There are a lot of services and resources available in the Galway, Mayo and Roscommon region. These services are open, but may be working differently at this time. We encourage people to become familiar with them in the event of needing to avail of them themselves or to support others who do,” added Mary.

The poster and cards are being distributed by a variety of means, including as inserts in local newspapers throughout Galway, Mayo and Roscommon. “In reality, mental health is not something we talk about only when we are struggling – we need to tend to our mental health every day, and many of the resources on the poster and pocket-sized card may be of support,” said Mary.  “COVID-19 is challenging for people of all ages. There is so much uncertainty associated with it in terms of employment, study and general community life. Many things seem to have changed in our lives and that level of upheaval can be very stressful.

“Our message is simple: don’t suffer in silence. Help is available. The poster and card offer a range of numbers and contact points where professional, trained support workers are available to listen to and to support you.  We urge you to download, keep safe and display this information in your home, workplace, local shops, and community areas or on social media, in case you or someone else needs it.”
The information can be downloaded from, which is also a great resource for information relevant to this region.

Further details
A Community Healthcare West Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Communications Strategy is currently being developed. It aims to optimise existing communication structures and networks of partner organisations in order to strengthen and embed national mental health messages at local level. As part of this work, the press release below was issued to all media channels in Galway, Mayo and Roscommon and the flyer here was circulated in newspapers in the three counties this week (2-4 December). The well-established website developed by the Mayo Suicide Prevention Alliance has been expanded to include the region and is now known as Further work is continuing on other initiatives.

Connecting for Life (Galway, Mayo and Roscommon) is a suicide prevention action plan for the HSE West region. It is part of Ireland’s national strategy to reduce suicide from 2015 to 2020, and sets out a vision of an Ireland where fewer lives are lost through suicide, and where communities and individuals are empowered to improve their mental health and wellbeing.

Three fulltime Resource Officers for Suicide Prevention are directly involved in implementing this plan – Mary O’Sullivan (Galway City and West/South Co. Galway), Siobhan McBrearty (Mayo) and Mary McGrath (Roscommon and North/East Co. Galway).

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Free Quit Smoking West Service

Please find  below the poster and information leaflet for the new Free Quit Smoking West Service.

Free Quit Smoking West Service offers: 
•  Free, confidential support and advice
• A personal plan and follow up tailored to you
• Advice on stop smoking medication to help you deal with cravings
• Motivational tips to help you keep on track

Each session is Free and is provided by a HSE Stop Smoking Advisor. There are six sessions during which your advisor will:
• Explore current habits and any concerns you have about stopping smoking
• Assess your level of nicotine addiction
• Provide support to deal with challenges
• Discuss stop smoking medication

The Service is is available Tuesday to Friday, and covers Galway, Mayo and Roscommon.
If you would like more information, please call 091 737262 or email
You can also get in touch through the National quitline 1800 201 203 or online at

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Minding Your Wellbeing
Online Mental Health and Wellbeing Programme
HSE Health & Wellbeing have launched a new free, online mental health and wellbeing programme called Minding Your Wellbeing. The programme consists of a series of 5 video sessions of around 20 minutes each on the following topics
  1. Practicing Self Care
  2. Understanding Our Thoughts
  3. Exploring Emotions
  4. Building Positive Relationships
  5. Improving Our Resilience
For further information and to access the videos click here or log on to

Galway City & Other National Consultations

Galway City Draft Development Contribution Scheme 2020 – 2026
The Draft Development Contribution Scheme will be on public display until Thursday 21st January 2021. 
For further details visit the Galway City Council Website here.

Galway City Development Plan 2017 – 2023: Proposed Variation No. 7
Submissions or observations in relation to the Proposed Variation and associated environmental assessments may be made in writing before Tuesday 5th January 2021.
For further details visit the Galway City Council Website here.

Adult Literacy, Numeracy and Digital Literacy Strategy: Consultation Paper 
This consultation closes at 6pm on 31st December 2020. 
Find the Consultation Paper - here and further details at the link here.

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Are You a Charity that Uses Food as PArt of Your Service?

FoodCloud is Looking for New Charities to Partner with Local Retailers
Join hundreds of Irish Charities and Community Groups who are making a difference in their communities by redistributing delicious surplus food to the individuals they support.

Surplus food is perfectly good food that for a number of reasons cannot be sold by the retailer. This food is in date and perfectly safe to eat. When you work with FoodCloud to collect this surplus, you are not only helping to ensure good food does not go to waste, but you may also save on your food budget and enhance the services you offer.

If you are a registered charity that is interested in collecting food from a local supermarket, please get in touch with FoodCloud by contacting the Community Team on 01 5313478 or at
Download the flyer here.

Community Water Development Fund 2021

Open Call
For the Community Water Development Fund 2021 Open Call, applicants are asked to complete the application form online and in conjunction with the guidelines provided online at
Closing date for receipt of applications is Tuesday 9 February 2021 at 12 noon. 
If you experience any technical difficulties on the website or need advice please contact Sheevaun Thompson, Funding Lead, Local Authority Waters Programme at 087 2436804, email or contact Conor Ruane on 085 8083059 or at
COVID-19 Related Updates

Minister for Health announces National COVID-19 Vaccination Strategy

Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly TD, has announced on Tuesday, 15th December, the National COVID-19 Vaccination Strategy, which outlines Ireland’s high-level plan for safe, effective and efficient vaccination of the population, while safeguarding continued provision of health and social care services.

The vaccines will be rolled out in three phases - the initial roll out, a mass ramp-up and open access. The highest priority groups, those over the age of 65 living in long-term care facilities and frontline healthcare workers in direct patient contact, will receive the vaccine first.

Vaccines will be administered from long-term care facilities, hospitals, mass vaccination clinics, GP surgeries and community pharmacies. This will be done by qualified and trained healthcare workers, including hospital doctors, community medical officers, nurses, GPs and pharmacists.
Read more here.

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Message from Covid-19 Stakeholder Communications Support and Updates 
Wednesday 16 December 2020

Dear Colleague,

We are grateful for your continuing support in helping to share information about COVID-19. Below are a few communications updates for you.

Public Health Measures
Ireland is currently at Level 3.
You can see the measures in place from 18th December here.
You can see the quick guide to the Christmas changes here.

Keeping well this winter campaign
The Keeping well this winter campaign is running across many media channels including TV, digital and social, radio and local press. We have also distributed a Keeping well this winter guide with lots of tips and advice to two million households in Ireland.

This year we are encouraging people, particularly our older population and those caring for them, to prepare for their winter health needs as best they can and to know that the health service is available when they need it. Please find attached an information pack containing details of the new campaign. Information and resources are also available at:

COVID-19 Vaccine Information Survey: Do you have 10 minutes to help?

Scientists across the world are working to develop safe and effective vaccines for COVID-19. We expect some of these vaccines to be available in 2021. 

The HSE is carrying out research to assess sentiment towards and understanding of a COVID-19 vaccine in the Republic of Ireland. This survey will give an understanding of current views and knowledge, and will help inform communications materials and information that will support people to make an informed choice about a COVID-19 vaccine.

Your participation in this survey is voluntary and your responses will remain anonymous and strictly confidential. To conduct the survey, the HSE have partnered with Core Research, an independent market research company who are bound by a strict code of conduct not to identify individual responses which guarantees complete confidentiality.

Please share this survey with your colleagues, members and stakeholders. You can take the survey here.

It takes 10 minutes to complete. The survey closes at 3pm on Friday, 18th December 2020, and is anonymous.

Your opinions are important to us and greatly appreciated.

New Visitation Guidance for Nursing Homes
On the 30th November 2020, the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) published new COVID-19 Guidance on Visitations to Long Term Residential Care Facilities. The new guidance aims to further support long-term residential care services (including nursing homes) and residents in planning visits across all levels of the framework for restrictive measures in the Government’s Resilience and Recovery 2020-2021: Plan for Living with COVID-19. The new guidance also includes further advice recognising that major cultural or religious festivals, such as Christmas, are of significance for residents and their families.

Managing a COVID-19 infection at home
This HPSC guidance is available here.

Information leaflet for visiting nursing homes and residential care facilities
This HPSC guidance is available here

New COVID-19 web page for staff working in residential care settings
If you deliver care to older people in a residential care setting, please check out the new webpage: This has been set up as a central point of contact for residential care facilities to access up to date clinical guidance, information and links to inform care and supports in these settings.

Information leaflet for new Traveller mothers
The HSE and Pavee Point have developed a leaflet for new mothers about COVID-19 and how to protect themselves and their babies, and what to do if they have symptoms. The ‘Information for Pavee Mothers and Babies’ leaflet is available here.

COVID-19 Guidance for Religious Services
This HPSC guidance is available here.

Irish Sign Language (ISL) videos on Self-isolation and Restricted Movements
You can watch the ISL self-isolation (stay in your room) video here, the restricted movements (stay at home) video here and self-isolation, restricted movements and the differences between them video here. These videos, along with other resources, are all available on the COVID-19 Deaf and Hard of Hearing Communications Resources page.

HSE and Age Action launch older-age friendly guide to COVID Tracker App
On Tuesday, 8th December 2020, the HSE and Age Action Ireland launched an older-age friendly guide – How to Use the COVID Tracker App. The guide is part of Age Action Ireland’s Getting Started KIT which supports learning and the use of technology and digital services. People can also contact Age Action Ireland by phone on 01 873 0372 and they will post a free copy of the guide.

COVID-19: Interim recommendations for sports activities for children and adolescents in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic
This document, available to download here, summarises interim recommendations for sport for children and adolescents up to 18 years old during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The COVID19 World Service: from COVID19 World Service, provides updated multilingual COVID-19 video messages. All scripts have been approved by the Irish College for General Practitioners. Please also see the HSE’s National Social Inclusion Office Migrant Resource page and all HSE COVID-19 translated resources

Shop Safely Animation
Please find the new ‘Shop Safely’ animation social media posts from the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment available here on Twitter and here on LinkedIn. We would be grateful if you would help share the information.

Public Health Information
For the most up to date information and advice on Coronavirus, please go to:

Clinical and professional guidance relating to COVID-19 is available on where you’ll find up to date guidance for healthcare settings and non-clinical settings.

Please check here for the most up to date partner resources for COVID-19.

Please also check the Healthy Ireland site here with further resources and information on the Keep Well campaign.

Many thanks for your continued support,

Covid-19 Health Communications Stakeholder Support

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HSE and Age Action launch older-age friendly guide to COVID Tracker App

On Tuesday, 8th December 2020, the HSE and Age Action Ireland launched an older-age friendly guide – How to Use the COVID Tracker App. The How to Use the COVID Tracker App has been designed by Age Action specifically for older people who need some support with online activities so they can use the App which helps to slow the spread of COVID-19. Understanding that a lot of older people are starting their online journey, the HSE worked with Age Action to add the How to Use the COVID Tracker App to the Getting Started KIT which helps older people get online so they can stay connected, informed and access resources.
The COVID Tracker App is a free app for your mobile phone. The How to Guide helps someone to put the app on their mobile phone and use it. The How to Guide is free via post by calling Age Action on 01 873 0372 and leaving their name and address. The How to Guide can be downloaded from

Age Action will post the How to Use the COVID Tracker App along with step-by-step information on;
1.How to set up an email;
2.How to download an application;
3.How to download and use the COVID Tracker App;
4.How to use the internet.
If you would like a little more support to use the app or about using the internet Age Action can help you by matching you with a volunteer tutor for up to five hours of remote tutoring.
You can call 01 873 0372 and follow the instructions. Additional information on using the internet and technology can be found on
Find further information here.

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Important Reminders


The Galway City Community Call Helpline
New Flyer Graphics
The helpline is open to anyone who needs it
from 8am to 8pm, seven days a week.
If you need support or help to get access to shopping, food, medication or if you feel isolated or lonely and need someone to talk to, please get in touch at:
☎️ 1800 400 150

Keep Well Campaign
The Keep Well campaign provides guidelines, information, and tips on how we can add healthy and helpful habits to our daily and weekly routines around five simple actions: keeping active, keeping in contact, switching off and getting creative, eating well and minding your mood
Support for the Older People This Winter
With the winter months approaching, we would like to share once again some of the main helplines for older people to access, especially during the ongoing COVID-19 alert.
  • Galway City COVID-19 Community Call Helpline: 1800 400 150
  • COPE Galway Helpline: 085  87 67 785
  • Alone Helpline: 0818 222 024
  • Senior Line: 1800 804 591
We highly encourage you to share these numbers with any older person you know.
Galway City Community Response Map

As part of the ongoing work of the Galway City Community Response Forum, Galway City Community Network and Galway City Council have developed a map of the COVID-19 related responses, activities and services available to people in Galway City.

The map is publicly available and can be used as a useful information resource both for individuals made vulnerable by COVID-19 and by organisations or agencies that need to know where they may refer their clients to for support.

The map is online at the following links:
Further details are available on the GCCN Website.


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