Tea delivery connects and brings residents together

By Mary Dennehy

THERE’S nothing better than a cuppa to bring people together, and while the chat these days is over a garden wall, tea is continuing to connect and bring warmth to residents in one Tallaght estate.

In recent months, Mary Keegan, of the Fettercairn Estate Management team, has been delivering boxes of tea to individuals and families who may be struggling, feeling isolated or alone in these challenging times.

Mary Keegan 01 1

Mary Keegan, of the Fettercairn Estate Management

The boxes of tea were donated to the Fettercairn Community Centre by Unilever, which delivered a van-load of Lyons tea to the centre earlier in the year.

Since September, Mary has been delivering the boxes of tea to people living across the area who could benefit from a visit and a chat.

“The box of tea is a very simple gesture, but it means a lot to people”, Mary told The Echo.

“It’s also a way of checking-in on people and knocking on a door, stepping back, and having a socially distant chat about how they’re getting on.

“We may not be able to have a chat over a cup of tea but we can have a chat over the garden wall.”

According to Mary, whose work is limited due to Covid-19 guidelines, Unilever made contact earlier in the year and offered a donation of tea bags to the centre.

“I started delivering the tea bags when I got back to work in September”, Mary said.

“I’m visiting families who may be struggling or people who are isolated or feeling a little down.

“We also have people in the community who have lost loved ones over the course of the year, from all kinds of health reasons and we’re just letting them know that we are here.”

As an estate manager, Mary is used to working in a busy community centre and alongside many groups, organisations and residents of all ages.

However, due to Covid-19 guidelines, Mary is feeling isolated in her own role.

“I find it very lonely working on my own but it’s what we have to do at the moment”, Mary said.

“It’s a lonely job but you have to keep your distance for yourself and the families and colleagues you work with.”

Mary, who is doing a lot of work over Zoom from home, works out of the Fettercairn Community Centre for a limited number of hours each week.

“The centre is so quiet, there’s no people going through the building talking, laughing or meeting”, she said.

“The creche is going and the café is doing take-away but it’s quiet.”

Speaking with The Echo this week, Mary encouraged people to link in with local services if they are struggling or feeling alone.

“I would encourage people to try and link in with as many services that can help them in their home”, she said.

“Utilise the services as best you can and ask for help.

“There are people working on the ground in communities.

“We may not be as visible as we usually are and have to work within guidelines, but we are here and willing to help.”

Mary, who believes people of all ages are feeling isolated, has encouraged anyone in need of support to call their local community centre, church or the South Dublin County Council community call helpline on 1800 240519.

She also encouraged people to call the community department at Tallaght Garda Station on 6666020 or St Vincent De Paul on 01 8848200, which will put people in touch with their local conference.

“Just talk with someone, pick up the phone and speak with somebody, there is always a listening ear and someone to help”, Mary said.

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