Guinness is today announcing the establishment of a €1.5 million fund providing support to communities affected by COVID-19 in Ireland. The fund will see €1.2 million go to support bar staff, alongside a further €300,000 to elderly vulnerable people through a partnership with ALONE, and its Befriending service.
Commenting on today’s announcement Oliver Loomes, Country Director of Diageo Ireland said, “We have been supporting the licensed trade in the last week through what is an unprecedented period as we all work together to keep people safe through the closure of licensed premises across the country.”
“Today we are announcing an additional support of €1.5 million, including €1.2 million to bar staff, and we will be working with our partners in the trade, The Licensed Vintners Association and Vintners' Federation of Ireland (VFI), on how we can support bar staff to maximum effect using this funding in what is a very fast-moving situation.”
Speaking today, Donall O'Keeffe, CEO, Licensed Vintners Association said “These are unprecedented times and it’s important that we pull together and show solidarity among the bar community. In addition the funding for services for older people is much needed and builds on the partnership that we already have in place with ALONE and Guinness addressing isolation among our elderly community”.
Also speaking today, VFI Chief Executive Padraig Cribben said; “With the closure of pubs around the country in a bid to protect their local communities, it reminds us of the importance of looking out for each other through these most challenging times.”
In addition to its additional funding of €300,000 for ALONE, Guinness is also asking staff members to pledge time to support the charity’s Befriending service.
Sean Moynihan, CEO of ALONE said, “Guinness have been supporting us for over three years in a bid to address social isolation, but it’s now that we need this most. Today’s news of an additional €300,000 is going to make a significant impact. This support will help us to continue to provide vital services to older people who need additional support and are experiencing increased social isolation at this time.
Since the outbreak of COVID-19 we have been receiving a huge volume of phone calls to our helpline from older people all over Ireland and delivering support seven days a week to those who need it. This will enable us to continue to deliver and expand these much-needed services.”
Today’s announcement is part of a wider initiative which will see Guinness and Diageo pledge in the region of €3 million globally to communities and the bar trade, with similar funds in the US and UK. This includes £1 million to support bar tenders in the free trade across Great Britain.