Ministers praise community response to challenges facing society

Date published: 31 March 2020

People from all walks of life are stepping forward to help the fightback against COVID-19, Executive Ministers have emphasised.

Volunteering Communities coming together
Volunteering Communities coming together

Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey and Health Minister Robin Swann hailed the community response to the challenges facing both the health service and wider society.

The COVID-19 HSC Workforce Appeal is actively recruiting to boost the health and social care workforce, with clinical and non-clinical individuals registering in large numbers to play their part. Further information is available at: More than 10,000 people have already registered an interest in taking on paid HSC roles.

The Department for Communities is separately coordinating a large-scale community volunteering operation, providing support to older and vulnerable citizens. This work is linking in with neighbourhood initiatives and work by the community and voluntary sector, faith groups and others.

Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey said: 

“A partnership response between government and the Voluntary and Community Sector has never been more important as we face a public health emergency in which there is a need to protect and support those vulnerable people across our communities.   I have established a Voluntary & Community Sector Emergencies Leadership Group which brings together experts in emergency planning and our most experienced grass roots leaders.”

Last week Volunteer Now launched a new online campaign #HelpEachOther to support those who wish to volunteer for COVID-19 related opportunities and also for those organisations which require the support of volunteers to deliver their services to those who need it most. Further information is available at

Minister Hargey explained: 

“My Department is working closely with Volunteer Now on this campaign to support a co-ordinated response to the need for community support for those most vulnerable and isolated within our communities, particularly at this time.  

“This includes working with Sport NI, the NI Sports Forum and Sports Governing Bodies to mobilise a cohort of skilled and motivated volunteers to support critical services, as well as identifying other key resources such as sports grounds, halls and vehicles.

 “I am delighted that five days since its launch the Volunteer Now #HelpEachOther campaign has already had over 1,000 people registering to express support which is evidence of communities coming together to help those most in need.”

Health Minister Robin Swann:

“It is really impressive and encouraging that so many people are stepping forward – both for the HSC recruitment drive and the separate community volunteering opportunities.

“This is what joined-up Government looks like – different Departments working alongside each other and with the public to make a real difference in vital areas.

“The fightback against COVID-19 takes many forms and everyone has a role to play. If you cannot join the ranks of the HSC workforce or do volunteering work in your community, you can still make a huge contribution by sticking to the public health guidelines and making sure others do too. As a prominent doctor said this week, we can all be heroes.”


Notes to editors: 

  1. Media enquiries to DfC Press Office Out of office hours please contact the Duty Press Officer on 028 9037 8110.
  2. Follow us on twitter @CommunitiesNI

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