It’s hard to believe that a pandemic could bring anything good to our lives, especially for people already facing huge challenges with their health and well-being.

As a high-risk group, life was certainly already tough enough for many within the Traveller community. Incredibly, the pandemic saw us actually increase the number of families we support in Cavan, Monaghan and farther afield.

Despite their initial reluctance, we helped many members of the community register for the Covid vaccination programme – who knows how many lives that has helped save?

Some of our Traveller women also took part in an eight week literacy course, from which a weekly class was developed, and set up a new weekly walking group to promote physical activity.

They also took an active role in promoting a new Traveller-specific mental health resource website, helping to build important connections with the Mental Health Ireland charity.

Perhaps most crucially so many new relationships have been created and so much trust has been gained with the Traveller community over the past year.

That’s the kind of outcome we could never have predicted in those awful early days of the pandemic, and a real reason for hope and celebration among us all.

Emily McCusker,

Assistant Service Manager,

Cavan Traveller Primary Health Care