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Communities Minister praises Strabane’s response to COVID-19 crisis

18 May 2020
The Minister for Communities, Deirdre Hargey, MLA, was in Strabane today where she had the opportunity to see first-hand the fantastic work being done on the ground by local community groups in the wake of COVID-19.
The Minister visited a number of groups in the local area who have been active in assisting vulnerable people during the ongoing health crisis, and was greeted by the Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District, Councillor Michaela Boyle, at Fountain Street Community Association. There volunteers and staff have raised an impressive £10,000 for the Altnagelvin Appeal, and have been active in assisting the Department’s emergency food box delivery scheme. Volunteers at the centre have also been working to produce scrubs to assist medical and caring staff in desperate need of PPE supplies.
During the morning Minister Hargey also paid a visit to Strabane Community Project who deliver a wide range of community services, including a Freephone telephone service for older people and a food bank for those in need.
Speaking after the visit, Mayor Boyle said she had been extremely proud to welcome the Minister and to highlight the extent of the community response in Strabane.
“I was delighted today to be able to give the Minister an insight into the community effort here in Strabane and the surrounding areas,” she said.
“The response to the crisis here has been swift and effective in addressing the immediate needs of those who have been worst impacted. I have been visiting groups across the City and District over the past few weeks and I have been quite overwhelmed by the work I have seen and the creative and effective ways people have managed to overcome the challenges to bring aid to the vulnerable. 
“To see the compassion and dedication of the hundreds of volunteers who are giving so generously of their time is just heartwarming and Minister Hargey was so impressed by what she saw here today. She has asked me to extend her personal thanks to all those involved in the community support effort and has pledged to continue to support this vital work for as long as is needed to get us through this crisis.”
As well as visiting to the local community response groups Minister Hargey called in to the local DHSS office where she had the chance to hear from staff who have been working to assist the public at this difficult time.
The Department for Communities has already channelled millions of pounds into the Community response to COVID-19 through its Community Response Plan. Local groups have been working with the Department, the Health Trust and local authorities to coordinate its emergency food box deliveries, and the Minister thanked all those involved in distributing the vital emergency aid across the Derry and Strabane Council area.​