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GAA, football and boxing clubs in south Belfast join forces to help their community during coronavirus crisis

Local clubs have come together to help the community during the coronavirus outbreak. Picture by Hugh Russell
Local clubs have come together to help the community during the coronavirus outbreak. Picture by Hugh Russell

GAA, football and boxing clubs in south Belfast have joined forces to help their community as the coronavirus crisis intensifies.

The sporting organisations, which are all based on the Ormeau Road, are rallying together to offer assistance and support during the lockdown.

As the impact of COVID-19 spreads, Bredagh GAA, Ormeau Boxing and Rosario Football Club and youth centre are working in tandem to "pool the resources and tackle this issue head on".

Each of the clubs have been advising members over the last couple of weeks of the dangers and what they can do to help out.

The joint initiative is offering help and advice to the community with members of all clubs on hand to carry out food deliveries, check on elderly and vulnerable neighbours and even just to have a chat with someone through a letterbox.

A food bank has also been launched by Ballynafeigh Apprentice Boys flute band and club as well as Ballynafeigh Unionist Forum and Cultural Society.

Donations will be given to vulnerable and elderly people as well as NHS staff living in the area in a bid to "help all members of our community to get through coronavirus safely".

In recent days also, banners have been erected at several locations along the busy Ormeau and Ravenhill roads to inform the community of the offers of help.

There is also a message on the banner to young people that they have "one shot at this".

"Do not go out, it will save your parents, grandparents," it states.

"This is no joke. The coronavirus is killing people."

Malcolm McFarlane, chairperson of Bredagh GAC, said: "We are seeing countrywide and nationwide that clubs and community bodies are rallying together.

"Thinking about our neighbours, Bredagh GAC, Ormeau Boxing Club and Rosarion Football Club and youth club have all come together and rallied to the cause.

"We have erected banners offering telephone numbers to people in need, social distancing advice and a message to our youth to stay at home."

Mr McFarlane said that since the lockdown was announced by Boris Johnston on Monday, they had seen an increase in messages of help.

"We have seen a few more people contacting us looking for help, including one of the folds where two older men live, but don't cook for themselves," he said.

"So we were able to get them some dinners.

"We have also been working with Ballynafeigh Cultural Society, who have opened up a foodbank.

"It's all about coming together, we are all in this together no matter what race, colour or creed - this virus knows no bounds."