As people’s health and wellbeing continues to be affected by coronavirus restrictions and lack of surety about what the next few months hold, Mansfield Shire Council has appointed its Community Connector officer to support programs and people in the community.
Mansfield Mayor, Cr Marg Attley OAM said Council received $58,860 funding for the 6 month program to provide a locally specific service for the community under the Victorian Government’s Community Activation and Social Isolation initiative.
“It’s welcome support. We’re pleased the government acknowledges the strain on people’s mental health and wellbeing. The longer the lack of certainty around the virus continues, the more extra support is needed,” Cr Attley said.
“Right from the start, the Mansfield community recognised that keeping people connected was an important part of the response to Coronavirus restrictions and that for some people, loneliness could be a result of reduced outings. We are very pleased to have Earl Ree-Goodings in the role of Community Connector during this time,” she said.
Cr Attley said the program means residents have a local community contact. Also under the program, Council will receive 4000 disposable face masks. This week Council worked with the Mansfield District Hospital to distribute about 1000 masks through hubs via the Jamieson Community group, the Bonnie Doon Community Centre, Council service providers and direct to community members.
These have been made available for agencies that deliver services to Victorians who are vulnerable and are unable to afford or source their own masks, Victorians who have chronic and complex conditions that increase their risk of infection, Aboriginal Victorians, people living in public housing and people living with disability or mental illness.
“Carers of vulnerable Victorians such as those with mental illness or disability are also eligible for these masks,” Cr Attley said.
“Earl’s first task has been to organise the distribution of the masks and he will then establish a community support network. The funding allows us to work with individuals to understand their needs around reducing social isolation and loneliness and to provide support and connections locally,” she said.
Council will also receive a delivery of re-usable masks in coming weeks for the same services and groups.
The Community Connector program ties-in with Council’s Relief hotline which has been in place for several months. It’s a free call number - 1800 MSC Aid (1800 672 243). To reach the Community Connector officer, individuals can phone this number.
“If you are concerned about a friend or neighbour during this time, you can let them know the Community Connector exists and can help them find out about aged care services, disability support services, social connection options, family violence support, financial services, food and material aid relief, mental health and housing/homelessness support.
The program acknowledges that local government knows its community best. We will work with all the local groups that support members of the community to provide individuals with personalised local connections.”
Phone: (03) 5775 8555
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Address: 33 Highett Street
Mansfield, VIC 3722
Postal: Private Bag 1000
Mansfield, VIC 3724