A new Victorian Government funding initiative to assist Council to provide emotional and practical support to residents was announced last month.
The City of Casey will receive funding via the State Government’s Community Activation and Social Isolation (CASI) initiative to act as a ‘community connector’ for people who may be experiencing loneliness or social disconnection as a result of coronavirus (COVID-19).
The CASI initiative will expand the Victorian Coronavirus (COVID-19) hotline (1800 675 398) by partnering with the Australian Red Cross to provide emotional support to those experiencing distress and anxiety. The hotline will also link people in need to ‘community connectors’–a local support network who provide practical help, emotional support and assistance with connecting socially online.
The local support network is an evolving piece of work that when complete will be a significant resource to the Casey community. The aim is to identify formal and informal groups within the community.
The community connector network uses a four-tiered approach that links people seeking help to relevant services:
- State based agency services like “Safe Steps” for those affected by or at risk of domestic violence, COVID-Connect from the Australian Red Cross for social support and other government websites for information about border access.
- Council services like Community Care to have digital mentoring and supply of devices added to recipients “My aged care” programs, website information, community gardening and library services.
- Formal external support services like Community Information Support Services in Narre Warren North and Cranbourne, Endeavour Ministries for Doveton and Endeavour hills, Neighbourhood/Community Houses, The Gathering Place, The Migrant Centre, RSLs, Rotary and Lions Clubs, youth clubs, ADF cadet units, Scouts, sporting clubs and more.
- Informal external support services like local resident groups, mens/ladies sheds, walking clubs and other activity-based groups.
Council and its partners are working together to connect community members with the relevant services that will be available once restrictions ease, and incorporate social check-in services, such as Covid Connect by Australian Red Cross, in the interim.
The funding has also been channelled into providing much needed food relief for Casey residents in need. As well as food, these packs supply other needed non-food supplies to disadvantaged residents as well as acting as a touch-point to ensure resident welfare and to supply printed information about additional resources.