As we begin to navigate our way through the new year, we’re faced with the reality that we are approaching yet another year with Covid restrictions and the negative impact they have on society. We took a look at the affect of restrictions on different sectors of society and mentioned some charities that help these divisons.

Words: Nathan Clare

Last year we experienced a Christmas like no other. Locked down and unable to see family and friends due to restrictions which had been imposed at the very last minute. Moments that people would cherish for years to come taken away in the blink of an eye. This year is different. We are not where we would like to be entirely, but there is progress being made compared to the bleak festivities of 2020. Since the onset of the pandemic, I cannot help but think that everyone has had to overcome adversity in some way, shape or form. Additionally, seeing such a low volume of people out in the city centre over the course of the last two years makes me think of how charities have suffered substantially during this time and the people these charities aim to help.

This year’s holiday season can be described as acute to say the least. We are in a position this year where society has not fully returned to its pre pandemic flow. Places are busy but with clubs fully closed and hospitality closing at a measly 8pm, things do feel off. Though with that being said, we do find ourselves in a better place than last year’s festive season. The vaccination efforts this year have enabled people to hold a clearer frame of mind in terms of socialising. With that, it allowed people to have a clearer conscious when mingling with people who are at a later stage in their lives or who would be in an at-risk category. I find it difficult to imagine how tough last year would have been for many people, primarily the elderly who live alone or individuals who are without family to spend the holidays with. I have no doubt that this year has also been challenging for many. Whether that is covid related or otherwise. ALONE is a charity worth mentioning at this delicate time of year as they do amazing volunteer work for numerous amounts of vulnerable and older people to highlight the brilliant work they have done and continue to do every single day which is now more important than ever.

Donate to Alone here.

Over the past two years, young people have sacrificed so much for society in order to limit the severity and chaos of the pandemic for others. No festivals, very little time in clubs and college primarily being online. This equals a complete lack of experience and is a considerable stunt of growth that young people have had to endure. This could translate to losing out on time for travelling somewhere new or the possibility of creating new friendships, which is vital in young people’s lives when trying to navigate through life at a time when we do not have the same number of responsibilities as our older counterparts. It goes without saying that young people have suffered a lot. For me, spunout is an organisation which focuses on aiding young people who may find themselves feeling uncertain or estranged throughout their adolescence. It provides support in so many ways that cater to struggles that are specific to young people primarily. This ranges from specific social settings to mental health, education, employment and so on. provide a remarkable service which deserves to be recognised in this piece and is a website that I have used myself for many different reasons over the years. The general information and advice they offer within a range of situations and scenarios for young people is second to none in quality.

There are so many charities in Ireland that do brilliant work for people in need. I would like to conclude with a primary focus to be placed on the homeless organisations that operate nationwide. Some of these include, but are not limited to, the Peter McVerry Trust, Focus Ireland and the Dublin Simon Community who are working tirelessly throughout the pandemic as well as a national housing crisis helping those who need it most. These are people who have found themselves in the most challenging of situations possible, which is being without a place that they can call home. The pandemic has not been kind to anyone, but it has been relentless to the homeless. When people have no choice but to rely on the kindness of others, to then be met with a pandemic with restrictions which resulted in empty streets for months at a time, I struggle to find the words to describe such a gruelling situation. There are ways we can help though.

Donate to Focus Ireland here.

If it can be spared, I have attached the links to donate to the charities mentioned above. If it cannot, that is fine because there are other ways that we can make a difference. Next time you see yourself heading into town, try bringing some clothes with you that are gathering dust in your wardrobe or a sandwich with a bottle of water to give to someone who looks like they may need it. One act of kindness is better than none, but an accumulation of these acts of kindness can make a life changing difference for others. We just don’t know it yet.

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