400 vulnerable residents of the Lower Ormeau area are contacted everyday by community workers to ensure they are in good health and in fine spirits despite the lengthening lockdown.
And Gerard Rice, manager of the Lower Ormeau Residents Action Group says the main hall of the Shaftesbury Recreation Centre - once a hub of sport and community gatherings - has also been turned over for a mammoth community relief effort
50 parcels of food basics as well as cleansing products go out daily in the area as part of a scheme funded both by Belfast City Council and the Department of Communities. Those 400 personal calls mean cocooning residents have a lifeline for support.
LORAG also distribute contact details for helplines and public bodies. Anyone who feels they require assistance can contact LORAG at 028-90-312377 from 9:30am-4:30pm on weekdays or afterhours on mobile 0774-2283906.
Gerard Rice, Aisling Awards Person of the Year 2019 and a veteran community worker in the area for three decades, says LORAG has transformed itself into a shield for the community against Covid-19. He says the group wants to "give locals a shoulder to lean on in tough times".
"We want to make sure no one in this area is going hungry and no one is worrying about their bills," said Gerard Rice. "There is enough worry and enough anxiety about the virus."
Our virtual community hub is coordinating delivery of food parcels during the #Covid19 crisis with @CommunitiesNI. To ensure food parcels reach those who need them most, the service is only for residents who meet the criteria. Find out more here: https://t.co/lTpGw2rlVj pic.twitter.com/5PPB75gfWn— Belfast City Council (@belfastcc) April 22, 2020