SOCIAL Protection Minister Joan Burton made the first phonecall to launch the new Good Morning Kildare service. The person at the other end of the line was 91-year old Stephen Kinsella who is a former Bord na Mona employee and founder member of Choill Dubh Credit Union.
The launch took place at the Michael Fitzpatrick Centre in Allenwood.
Stephen was actually in the centre for the launch and took the minister’s call in the reception area of the building but now that the service is up and running Stephen, and the many other elderly people who live alone who have signed up for the service, will get their morning phone call in their own homes each morning.
People attending the launch were able to see and hear both the Minister and Mr Kinsella on a live video link from the conference room as the call was being made.
Minister Burton said that she welcomed the Good Morning Kildare initiative and she spoke about how such initiatives can be used to combat social isolation.
Other speakers at the event were Anne Kearney,HSE elderly services programme manager in West Dublin and Kildare and Joe McGloin from the Department of Social Protection who also welcomed the initiative, as did the Mayor of Kildare Micheál ‘Spike’ Nolan.
The initiative formally began last Friday morning, the day after the launch, and calls were made to 10 people who had already signed up to receive the calls. Three people have been taken on within a community employment scheme to make the calls.
Sign up forms for the service will be distributed throughout County Kildare by Public Health nurses. It is also planned to have the forms in doctor’s waiting rooms and in Day Care Centres. Care of the Aged volunteers will also have the forms. Forms can also be obtained directly from the Michael Fitzpatrick Centre in Allen who can be contacted at 045 870268