The Community Hearts project has been one of the gorgeous projects to emerge as a response to Covid 19 – a way of saying to people in a variety of congregated settings that their community sees and remembers them and is sending love in a tangible way – a hand crafted heart.

Recently Marian Collins visited O’Connell Court, a supported housing project where she had volunteered with the Cork Alzheimer Foundation, based at in O’Connell in pre-covid. She was there to present a package of Community hearts to the residents. Marian along with many of her fellow crafters in the Lantern Project and BTCDP Arts & Crafts Initiative, turned her energy during lockdown to ensuring that people had a gift that assured them of care and hope.

“I volunteered here with the Alzheimer’s group so its wonderful to come back to the centre with Community hearts for everyone just to say we’re thinking of you” Marian said.

Rory O’Meara, Director of Services in O’Connell Court said: “Obviously my main focus has been on protecting the residents here in O’Connell Court but we have felt the care from the wider community. Initiatives such as the Community Hearts project are so supportive for those whose home is O’Connell Court and keep them connected. And as an organisation we are very appreciative of the PPE donations that have come regularly from BTCDP to supplement what were often very short supplies”.

Siobhán O’Dowd, co-ordinator of BTCDP and one of Cork’s Community Champions said: “In the role of Community Champion there was a big focus on encouraging volunteers and so many stepped forward to deliver or collect shopping and pensions, to support people at home cocooning. This is an amazing project because volunteers who maybe themselves are cocooning are taking time to reach out to others who are more isolated and it gives a little recognition to those who have volunteered from home”.

Siobhán added that the community hearts had been distributed across city and county to nursing homes, hospice and Meals on wheels groups to help people feel connected and huge credit was due to BTCDP Arts & Crafts Initiative and to the Lantern Project who had galvanised so many to use their talents in a caring creative way to bring comfort.

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