Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Stephen Donnelly, Ballina, presenting a €6,673 cheque to Ballina Community Centre committee members Olive O’Donnell, Rita Ruddy and Frances Tully, which was part proceeds from his magnificent Ironman Challenge. Unavoidably absent from photograph were committee members Sr. Martha Hegarty and Anne Murray. Picture: David Farrell Photography

The Covid-19 pandemic and associated lockdown have had a devastating impact on community services like Ballina Community Centre.

The centre operates the local meals on wheels service which is subsidised by the rental of its rooms for a nominal fee.

It is managed by a committee of four with the support of volunteers many of whom found themselves no longer able to help out due to the cocooning or social isolation requirements of the Covid-19 pandemic. They also suffered the heart-breaking sudden loss of committee chairperson, Anne Langan-Murray.

Committee secretary, Rita Ruddy, said that lockdown was a very challenging time but that the committee was determined that the meals on wheels service would continue even though income and donations had dried up overnight.

Stephen Donnelly seen preparing for the triathlon which took place at his home in Ballina on May 1 last. Picture: Keith Heneghan

The service did continue thanks to the assistance of local Cllr Mark Duffy who helped the centre replace its cocooning drivers with new volunteers and thanks to a novel fundraising challenge by local athlete Stephen Donnelly.

Stephen, who is an experienced triathlete, completed a fundraising Ironman challenge from his home on May 1 last, raising a staggering €13,346 in donations which has been split evenly between Ballina Community Centre and Mayo University Hospital.

Rita said the committee and volunteers have been blown away by Stephen’s spirit, energy and generosity and are grateful to anyone that volunteered, donated to or helped them out in any.

The centre is still in dire need of more volunteers to assist with its daily operations.

If you can help email [email protected] or message the Meals on Wheels Ballina Facebook page. All assistance will be greatly received.

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