COVID-19 update – 26 March 2020

  • People watering a community garden
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Community sector update

Even prior to the COVID-19 crisis, many community services organisations were already experiencing unprecedented demand on their services that they could not always meet.

We are a sector that is there when people need support the most. We are all looking at our already stretched resources, figuring out new and innovative ways to do our work – because in the face of this unprecedented crisis – we’re needed.

Your work is essential to dealing with this crisis, to helping people through the tough times and to community recovery.

Keeping your services running

Where possible, providers should continue service delivery with appropriate safeguards in place to reduce risks to staff and the people we work with.

We know that most of you are already implementing strategies to deliver services in different ways such as telephone or video calls. We’d really like to hear from you if you’re having difficulty transitioning to this remote way of delivering services due to inadequate access to technology.

Some service offerings cannot be delivered remotely. It is important to think about how to continue to deliver physical services in a way that reduces the risk of contracting or spreading COVID-19.

If your organisation is unable to meet your contracted obligations due to the impacts of COVID-19 contact your contract manager in writing promptly. Advise how service delivery has been affected and what strategies you are implementing to minimise the impact. The Queensland Government has told us that they are keen to work with organisations to assist them to find solutions.

Community and neighbourhood centres

From 25 March, neighbourhood houses/community centres were forced to close their doors to the public. However, facilities may remain open for the purpose of hosting essential services, such as food banks or homeless services.

Organisations that provide the following essential services can continue to deliver these specific services provided the appropriate measures of social distancing and hygiene are put in place:

  • Occasional childcare
  • Centrelink agency
  • Food banks
  • Meal support (must be takeaway or delivery service)

Helping the community via Centrelink agencies, NILS loans and emergency relief can continue with health and safety measures in place. For example conducting NILS loans applications via phone, video or email.

Business continuity plans should be updated to detail how your organisation plans to continue operations. If you need help with accelerating your business continuity plan take a look at the business continuity planning accelerator and other tools on Community Door.

Women and children health and safety working party

The safety and wellbeing of women and children is very important to our sector. Yesterday QCOSS convened a Women and Children Health and Safety working party. More than 40 organisations were represented. An action plan is being developed for consultation with the working group over the next few days. We will keep you informed as it progresses.

Resources in languages other than English and Easy-English guides

We have been posting relevant resources in languages other than English and some Easy-English guides on Community Door and we’ll continue to update this as information comes in.

Next week we will also provide some information on engaging and working with interpreters during the COVID-19 pandemic.

More information

Visit the COVID-19 section of Community Door for up to date information and follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook for the latest updates.

If you have any questions or updates about what is happening in the community sector please get in touch. For COVID-19 related issues, contact us on [email protected].

27 March 2020