JOINT MEDIA RELEASE WITH VOLUNTEERING QUEENSLAND
Queensland Council of Social Service (QCOSS) CEO Aimee McVeigh has welcomed news that neighbourhood and community centres will receive $20,000 grants in recognition of COVID-19 pressures but said there must be a coordinated approach for the community services sector from the Queensland government.
“This funding is important and will help neighbourhood centres keep their heads above water. They are on the frontline of helping communities respond to COVID outbreaks.
“Through this announcement the government has acknowledged the essential nature of the work being delivered by charities. Our charities are working with the most vulnerable people in Queensland – people with disability, older people, people with chronic health conditions and people with insecure housing. Right now, they are under incredible pressure.
“Community organisations are experiencing acute RAT and PPE supply issues and workforce shortages right now on top of supporting many people with chronic health conditions who also have COVID.
“Funding must be extended to all parts of the community services sector, not only neighbourhood centres. We need a coordinated and consistent support package for charities.”
Charities are experiencing chronic workforce shortages and the inability of organisations to protect their staff and service users due to lack of PPE and RATs is also having an impact on volunteers.
Volunteering Queensland CEO Mara Basanovic said that organisations and even volunteers themselves have been forced to pay out-of-pocket for COVID testing, masks and other protective equipment.
“From delivering food and medicine, to providing shelter to rough sleepers, to supporting people with disability, so many of Queensland’s frontline services rely on volunteers generously serving their communities.
“We welcome the support announced by the Queensland government and its recognition that resources are needed across the state. However, with more than 300,000 people volunteering within community service organisations alone, more is needed to provide certainty and security for all frontline volunteers who give their time for the common good.
“With inflated prices and inadequate supply of rapid antigen tests, many have had to cease their volunteering altogether. This leaves vulnerable Queenslanders at risk and puts even more pressure on a workforce already stretched from unprecedented demand.”