GETTING used to the COVID-19 lockdown has been challenging for many families.
For most it has been an inconvenience, but for others it has been a desperately isolating experience.
But help is at hand, particularly for older residents struggling to cope to a very different life behind closed doors.
Various community and voluntary sector groups have risen to the challenge to offer support to older and vulnerable people.
They have urged locals to encourage people in need of help to contact these services - be it for practical needs such as shopping and medicine collections.
Age NI Advice and Advocacy Service provides free confidential advice and support for older people, their family and carers on welfare benefits, community care, residential and nursing care, housing and health. Call 0808 808 7575, or email email@example.com, www.ageni.org/advice from 8 am to 7pm seven days a week.
Community Advice Antrim and Newtownabbey is based at Farranshane House in Antrim. Call 0289590 6505 or email. www.communityadvicean.co.uk
Newtownabbey Food Bank operates from Carnmoney Church, 258 Carnmoney Road. For opening times and referrals details contact 0758 117 9604.
Antrim Foodbank, care of Oasis Antrim, works from 10d High Street, Antrim. For opening times and referrals details call 0751 581 3374.
Good Morning Newtownabbey can be reached at 028 9086 6385.
Good Morning Antrim is at 028 9446 4619, while Good Morning Crumlin and Glenavy can be called on 028 9407 0356.
All have teams of local volunteeers to assist with shopping and prescriptions where necessary.
They are open to new referrals – if you can think of any vulnerable people who could benefit from their support please ask them to phone and self refer to the service.
Community Advice Antrim and Newtownabbey is now delivering an enhanced telephone service to replace face-to-face services. They can be contacted on 02895 906505.
Funded by the Northern Trust, Links Counselling offers an emotional well-being service. To set up a telephone or video appointment call 028 38342825.
Crumlin Community Hub also offer a range of services, from shopping and posting mail, to collecting medicine or a friendly phone call. They can be contacted at 02896208284 or 07484312120.
Together for Ballyclare is doing a similar service for its residents. They can be reached at 07907665885.
Together for Templepatrick, supported by the Enkalon Foundation, are waiting for your call on 07933094952.
Ballyclare RFC are keen to give something back to the community too. They too offer a range of services including help with dog walking, cutting the grass and setting up electronic devices. Reach them on 07825847012 or 07894920026.
COVID-19 Response is based at the Family Caring Centre in Antrim, though they are offering a free service to people living in Toome, Randalstown, Crumlin, Templepatrick, Parkgate and Antrim. The team will check on the well-being of people feeling isolated. They will listen to their concerns and offer support where possible. They are contactable on 94-464619 from 9am to 1pm, Monday to Friday.
There are many other groups offering vital community support including Ballycraigy and Environs Development Association, St Comgall’s GAA, Journey Church, St Vincent de Paul, Steeple Community Association and South Antrim ACT.
Please contact the Antrim Guardian by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org and we will be happy to publicise the all-important contact numbers.