COPE Galway Annual Report 2020 Media Summary

COPE Galway has been providing social services to the people of Galway since the 1970s.  COPE Galway understands, respects and responds to the needs of people in our community who face the challenges of homelessness and domestic abuse and we support older people towards healthy and active ageing. 

Vision:            A community where every person is valued, cared for and supported at every stage of life

Mission:          Making a Difference: Empowering people, creating change and strengthening communities

Our Impact    In 2020 COPE Galway supported 2,616 unique clients:

Homeless Service:                 1,157 

Domestic Abuse Service:       603 

Senior Support Service:         856 

2020 impact numbers include:  

  • 350 children, 807 adults, 606 single people, 138 families, supported via Homeless Service
  • 157 homeless single people supported in emergency Covid-19 accommodation 
  • 1,104 domestic abuse outreach appointments
  • 129 play therapy sessions for children
  • 79 women admitted to refuge with 84 children
  • 68,755 meals produced and delivered  
  • 3,359 supported locally via the Fund for European Aid programme (FEAD) 
  • 350 food bag deliveries
  • 400 Christmas hampers
  • 182 support calls for older people during first lockdown

Key Achievements in 2020

COPE Galway’s Covid-19 response included:

  • Immediately activating and publicising a new helpline for older people
  • Sustained campaign to let women know our domestic abuse service was open and safely operating
  • Reorganised or repurposed our services to facilitate self-isolation for vulnerable client groups and to ensure anyone sleeping rough was offered a safe space to sleep
  • Increased meal preparation and deliveries to support the nutritional needs of older people who remained at home
  • Distributed relevant timely information and actively collaborated with local authorities to support vulnerable people in our communities
  • Worked effectively with other voluntary, community and state partners to protect our clients and staff from contracting the virus

In May, we opened Modh Eile House, the new home of our domestic abuse service, offering an enhanced service and 50% increased accommodation capacity to women and children fleeing domestic abuse.

COPE Galway Strategy 2020 – 2025 launched virtually in September, outlines 6 strategic priorities, with two complex contexts in mind:

  1. Remain effective in providing person centered, demand led services in emergency and crisis situations
  2. Plan for a changed social and economic landscape over the next 5-10 years where we will need to invest more in prevention and early engagement work to increase people’s capacity and resilience to cope with challenges. 

Responsiveness, Adaptability and Resilience during Covid-19 in 2020

COPE Galway’s services remain in continuous demand.  Homelessness has not gone away; reports of domestic abuse increased exponentially during the pandemic and recent narratives around ageing and older people indicate a need for more focus on positive and active ageing in our community. 

Covid-19 has revealed the extent to which our communities rely on services of local organisations like COPE Galway and the essential supportive role it plays in general society.

While the pandemic affected every one of us, its effect was more keenly felt by those already in isolation through homelessness, domestic abuse or because of their older age.  At a time when globally, home was seen as the safest option, staying home posed significant challenges for many in our care.  It was essential that COPE Galway’s three service areas remained operational and responsive for the many vulnerable in our community who were more adversely affected by the virus than others.

2020 was a year of unprecedented challenge due to the Covid-19 pandemic; it was also a year in which our communities witnessed the very best of society.  The pandemic has also shone a light on the strength, resilience responsiveness and adaptability of our clients, staff, volunteers and the community in general and a willingness to work together to bring about positive change.

2020 also saw positive developments in areas for which COPE Galway had long sought change. These included specific Garda and national campaigns to address the worryingly exponential increase in domestic abuse; new efforts to prevent homelessness with the moratorium on evictions and freezing of rent levels and the mobilisation of response at a local level targeted for older people, including initiatives to address negative narratives and attitudes around ageing.  

From March 2020, we focused our efforts on protecting our clients, staff and volunteers, finding ways to continue to offer and safely deliver services and to protect our revenue streams. As a result of enormous efforts of everyone involved in service delivery, and with the support of our funders, donors and the public, we managed to largely realise these goals.

COPE Galway’s professional, passionate and dedicated staff of over 150 in 2020 showed commitment above and beyond what could be asked.  They took on new roles and duties, adapted to new models of care and responded to having to work in a peculiarly remote way.  They focused their energy and motivation on ensuring that COPE Galway was a safe place for clients, staff and volunteers during a pandemic and showed diligence strength, flexibility and resilience throughout 2020.

Over the years we have seen that people can lose hope in themselves; they lose hope for their future; they lose hope that they are going to end their homeless cycle or that their experience of domestic abuse will end. COPE Galway’s staff and volunteers make sure that they never lose hope in the people they serve.

Challenges Ahead 

Globally, we are working towards immunity from the Covid-19 disease. Now we need to achieve immunity from the social impacts of the pandemic – homelessness, poverty, domestic abuse, mental ill health and social isolation. We need to continue to work to meet the basic human rights and needs that each one of us deserves – timely access to adequate and appropriate housing, safety for women and children in a society that does not tolerate domestic abuse, and access to services that support quality, independent living in older age.  

COPE Galway

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