HSSCU Sponsorship Testimonial – Comfort4Covid – Ciara Close

News, Monday 28th September, by HSSCU

HSSCU Sponsorships

At HSSCU, we are passionate about helping our members and our community. While we provide the best service to members, we’re aware that there is a lot more happening in our community. With that in mind, HSSCU is proud to support our members by sponsoring our community. We sponsor charities requested by members, charities who contact us directly and charities we identify that are doing great work. This year, some of our key sponsorship partners have written testimonials on their experience with HSSCU’s sponsorships. Here, they tell us about the amazing work they do and how HSSCU has helped along the way. We are delighted to start things off with Ciara Close who organised the amazing ‘Comfort4Covid’.


Comfort4Covid – Ciara Close:


Comfort4Covid - HSSCU


Hi Ciara! Tell Us About Comfort4Covid.


Comfort4Covid provided tablets for patients and residents in hospitals and nursing homes all over Ireland. These allow them to connect better with their families and loved ones, despite being isolated.  We delivered 1,067 tablets to 470 locations, helping over 20,000 people.  As lockdown evolved, tablets have been used for communicating with family, and even watching local mass, old movies and shows.


How Did You Start Up Comfort4Covid?


Comfort4Covid was set up in late March. The intention was to fundraise for tablets/iPads for the use of patients in Covid impacted hospitals around Ireland. Given how the situation evolved in Italy, we wanted to make sure that if we ended up with thousands of people very ill, that we could at least help them and their families stay connected.  The situation evolved however, which required that we shift our attention to older and vulnerable people in nursing homes.  We increased our target of delivering 100 tablets to hospitals up to 250 then 600 and finally 1000 tablets to nursing homes!


How Did You Proceed to Make Comfort4Covid a Reality?


Having come up with the idea for Comfort4Covid, we got together as a group of friends to fundraise, develop the product and organise shipping.  We were invested in it for various reasons. For myself and Niamh, our mom and sister are nurses and our brother was a doctor so we have a strong connection to front line medical workers. Suzanne’s partner is a doctor and both of them got sick with Covid back in March. Emma and Kevin both have close family who are in the high risk group.



Who Does Comfort4Covid Help? How Does It Do This?


The tablets help sick, vulnerable and lonely people who have been impacted heavily by isolation and who may not have access to technology otherwise. We raised almost €115,000 in funds and nearly €100,000 in resources and services. This allowed us to help so many people!  We were also fortunate to have Amy Huberman, Hairy Baby and Host In Ireland fundraise on our behalf.



Given the group of people we were looking to help: we decided to preconfigure all tablets before shipping. We also sourced 4G data plans from Vodafone and Three, so that they could be used as soon as they were delivered. We didn’t want frontline staff having to worry about configuring tablets or buying sim cards. Vodafone and Three were very generous in helping us. We also were very lucky in securing the support of DHL who delivered all of the tablets to every corner of the island. A number of companies donated tablets, accessories, equipment, materials. These included:


  • Pallas Foods
  • Wisetek
  • Fonez
  • Evros
  • T&I Fittings
  • Harvey Norman
  • Peats Wholesale
  • AbcoKovex
  • Wriggle Technology


Other charities were very generous in providing support services, including:


  • GoFundMe
  • Havas Dublin
  • Fleishmann Hillard
  • 2FM
  • Virgin Media
  • Newstalk
  • UCD Smurfit
  • TUD


There were also many, many others who donated and helped in various capacities.



What Did HSSCU’s Sponsorship Go Towards? How Did It Help?


HSSCU staff donated €1,000 at a very early stage in the project.  This was instrumental in getting us going and helping us have as big an impact as we managed to have. The €1,000 was used to source about 9-10 tablets, which were shipped around the country.  On top of that, the team were quick to offer help and assistance in any way they could. HSSCU clearly has a brilliant community spirit and positive attitude, which meant a huge amount to us when things were getting off the ground.


Are There Any Stories You Would Like to Share From Comfort4Covid?


We’ve heard many stories back about how the tablets were used and who they helped. From people saying their last goodbyes, to grandparents getting to see a new grandchild, to husbands and wives getting to see each other – the tablets helped so many people.  Some of the stories have been happy and others have been so sad, but all have been important. Loneliness has a huge detrimental impact on people and quality of life, so to be able to alleviate that a little can have a massively positive effect on outcomes. We hope that everyone in HSSCU is proud to have been part of this effort to help over 20,000 people!



Would You Like to Apply?


To apply for a HSSCU sponsorship, simply visit our sponsorship webpage and download our application form. We are very excited to continue our commitment of supporting our community.


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