We are what matters

In 2020 we were starkly reminded of the significance of community. During the first lockdown we watched, read, and listened to stories of communities coming together to make sure that nobody was left behind, and we marvelled at what could happen when care, compassion and social solidarity took priority.

Within this world of compassion and solidarity, unfortunately those over 70 and those who were vulnerable were asked to strictly cocoon. This created a lonely, isolated world for many older people and especially for you our members who were active, engaged and the planners and doers of our organisation and our ARAs. But the pandemic took over and your health and well being was the most important thing to focus on.

As communities across Ireland came together to help, ARI took a long look at what we could do given the majority of our members were cocooned and no longer the ones doing the community volunteering.

We realised that the strength was in our network, in our local ARAs, in our regional teams and in our national office. The lockdown months were spent putting in place a call-around system where each regional team – chair, board member and development team were asked to contact the ARAs in each of their regions to see how they were getting on. Each ARA was asked to try to reach out to the members and keep the lines of communication and connection open. Where this worked well, we have had great feedback from the ARAs on how they have kept in touch.

Now, as we return to a lockdown, we can continue to stay together by being apart. Keep in touch with each other, and keep healthy. Your membership support staff are still available by phone or email, and we would be only delighted to hear how your group has been keeping in contact.

Above all else, stay safe. And we’ll have another day, another time, when it’s safe.

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