“Let’s keep it together by staying apart”

HSE Media Release: 27 April 2020

The HSE/South East Community Healthcare – in continuing to promote the message to those aged 70 and over to “cocoon” in the confines of their own homes (and gardens/balconies) to #StaySafe during the fight to #StopTheSpread of COVID-19, is pointing to a song composed, performed and circulated by one of its “Healthy Ireland” community champions.

Brian Toomey, who is his Co. Wexford’s Public Participation Network (PPN) social inclusion representative on its Local Community Development Committee, a resident of Bunclody in the model county, took pen to paper and guitar to hand recently and came up with “Let’s keep it together by staying apart”

The chorus of the song underlines one of the key messages being conveyed at this time: “Let’s keep it together by staying apart. Let’s stay together and keep a good heart.

Let’s love one another now that’s a good start. Let’s keep it together by staying apart”

South East Community Healthcare (SECH)’s COVID-19 lead Derval Howley with support from “Healthy Ireland” (the government-led initiative aimed at improving the health and wellbeing of everyone living in Ireland), was delighted to add the song to the many actions underway to impress upon people to stick with what they are being asked to do in order for as many people as possible to come through unscathed:

“Brian Toomey is well known as an entertainer in various nursing homes in counties Wexford and Carlow. We’ve worked with Brian before, including through bringing the five South East based Age-Friendly Alliances and Older Persons Councils together on “positive ageing” as a policy and practice issue for all ages and sectors of society and on piloting the ‘Dementia Friendly’ project in Bunclody, Co. Wexford. As regards cocooning, Brian has literally hit the right note.”

“Cocooning is for people who are medically vulnerable (including those over 70) and is for their personal protection. It means you should stay at home at all times and avoid face-to-face contact. Even within your home, you should minimise all non-essential contact with other members of your household. Ask your family, carers or neighbours for help to ensure you have the support you need. With the help of animation artist Hazel Hurley, we’ve been able to get this across in the video for Brian’s ‘Let’s keep it Together’.

Brian Toomey is a native of Dublin but has been living in Bunclody for the last 16 years. Former Secretary to the Bunclody Active Retired, Brian is well known in recent years as an entertainer visiting nursing homes.

“The HSE, as regards its hospitals and residential care centres and the private nursing home sector in the South East are doing a great job. Out in the community, we can do our bit by a little sacrifice towards a result for everyone at a time when Ireland faces a challenge. It is difficult, especially where we miss being out and about. Bottom line, however, is that there is a public health emergency and it is for ours and society’s good to remain at home for the while that’s involved.”

“Each of the five local authorities in the South East, in association with the HSE/South East Community Healthcare and a range of other statutory and voluntary agencies, have a Community Response Forums helpline in place and anyone in Co. Wexford can phone (053) 919 6000 if they’re in need of any help to stay at home.”

 “When I entertain in nursing homes, I can see how music connects. There’s one lady I know who hasn’t spoken to people for years but she sings along when I’m there. It means so much to people. I am delighted that my project of expressing the simple idea and benefits of cocooning through song, has been taken up by SECH and the graphics added by Hazel to communicate a lovely message to viewers of and listeners to it.”


Last updated on: 27 / 04 / 2020