As I write, the Irish Centre has been closed for five weeks. The staff have been furloughed till June and probably longer. We can’t guess when we might re-open but few think it will be before September. The question is will we still want to go to bars and social gatherings. Certainly, we have to plan to operate in a very different way in future.
AGM The AGM was due the week we were closed. The officers are now looking at hosting an abbreviated event via Zoom and posting the main items such as the auditor’s report on e mail. Members will be able to request it from our website.
PLANS Lots of informal networks have sprung up this month with members phoning round to keep in touch. We are planning to underpin this good work by creating a more formal support and information network. Partly this is to avoid vulnerable and lonely people being missed. For instance, I have had calls from Ireland asking is a person well or even alive. This is an elderly ex-member and I was ashamed that I couldn’t give an answer. We aim to include as broad a range of people as possible including all the organisations attached to the centre. In the first instance we will be using the names we hold from our Thursday Club, Tara Club and the Cultural Society’s Songs
and Stories project (ROSS) but I’m sure members of our Tea Dance, classes and music sessions can help as well.
SALE OF IRISH PRODUCE Soon on our website you will be able to now buy some Irish items. They are mostly food and drink ordered and paid for before the shut- down but delivered after. It’s quality stuff but maybe not recommended by Weightwatchers. Favourites include Tayto Crisps, West Coast Coolers and Mrs.Brown’s special Kimberley biscuits. Why not buy a hamper for a friend and we’ll deliver it in Tyne/Wear area. Keep an eye out for the shop going live in the next couple of days!
VOLUNTEERS It would be good to hear from anyone who has time to help us make phone calls, make deliveries, trace vulnerable people or devise and deliver activities on line.
Keep Safe and Keep Smiling. Tony Corcoran