Roscrea's Age Friendly group have been at the coalface of fighting against Covid-19 since the pandemic hit Ireland in March.
“Our memory of these coronavirus months will last with us for decades and will be talked about for centuries to come. We will debate whether we, as a nation, got it right. Were the lockdowns the right thing to do? Should the schools have been closed?Did the masks work?” founder of the group, Anne Keevey said this week.
The pandemic has resulted in sadness, loneliness and loss for many people. But, Age Friendly Roscrea (AFR) has been a beacon of hope for all in the town since the early days of the virus in March this year.
AFR rallied volunteers to support its goody bag deliveries, organise phone call networking and regular check-ins with many of the older people living in the town. AFR, working alongside the Gardaí, HSE, NTDC, local businesses, voluntary and sporting organisations have clearly demonstrated that coming together, whilst staying apart was, and is, the key to not merely surviving but to thriving.
As a result, Roscrea will be exiting from the pandemic with many legacies including those developed by Age Friendly Roscrea.
Visit the Roscrea Shopping Centre during the festive season to view the amazing crochet Christmas Trees that are standing tall and proud. These trees have been decorated in hundreds of crocheted squares. The ‘granny’ crochet squares each remember and honour special people, friends and family alive and deceased. The names of those we wish to remember will be attached to the tree.
The squares have been lovingly crocheted by young and older people from every corner of Roscrea and as far afield as Canada and Australia.
“It’s fair to say that the pandemic has changed all our lives. We are not free to do and go where we want to, and this is especially true of our family and friends, who are living in Nursing Homes. In Roscrea there are more than 120 people living in nursing homes around the town and they are really missing the wider engagement with friends, family and the wider community”, Anne said.
“In recognition of the fact that the Nursing Home residents are very much part of our community and greatly missed, the TY Students from Coláiste Phobal knitted and crocheted squares to hang on the tree for this group specifically. We all look forward to the days when we can return freely to the nursing homes again for tea, chat or a singalong. The smallest tree ‘the baby tree’ is covered in delicate whites, pinks, blues and little teddies.
“This tree will have a personal, profound and different meaning for each and every one of us, both as individuals, as a community and as a generation. Roscrea’s tremendous community cooperation and spirit is reflected in this colourful, crocheted Christmas Tree project.
“The plan was to develop one tree and now over 2,000 squares later we have four trees. This indicates the power of community spirit and working together - Roscrea people working together with a common Roscrea mission can achieve anything. It is this community spirit and co-operation that will be needed as we emerge from this pandemic and progress further implementing the Age Friendly Strategy for the town”, Anne explained.
The colourful, Corona crocheted trees will stand long into the New Year to prove this spirit and determination is present in abundance in Roscrea.