Mansfield Shire residents experiencing loneliness or social disconnection due to the Coronavirus will receive support from the Australian Red Cross and local community organisations with one call to the Coronavirus hotline, thanks to a new Victorian Government initiative.
Minister for Disability, Ageing and Carers, Luke Donnellan recently launched the Community Activation and Social Isolation initiative with more than $6 million to support people experiencing loneliness or social disconnection.
Mansfield Shire Mayor, Cr Marg Attley OAM said Council had gladly accepted the $58,860 funding for the 6 month program to provide a locally specific service for the community.
“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 be able to provide this social support program,” Cr Attley said.
“We are recruiting for this position so that residents will have a local contact for our community,” she said.
“We congratulated the Victorian Government on its acknowledgement of the strain on people’s mental health and wellbeing with the release of its $59.4million package. This will be welcome as we all aim to support the community to deal with significant changes to our lives as a result of the pandemic.
“For many Victorians, physical distancing and social or work-related restrictions have led to feelings of loneliness and disconnection. For those already lonely or isolated before the pandemic, it’s been even harder to get help.
The Community Activation and Social Isolation initiative will expand the Victorian Coronavirus hotline (1800 675 398) by partnering with the Australian Red Cross whose volunteers have been trained in psychological first aid to provide emotional support and help to callers who may be distressed or anxious. The hotline will also link people in need to community connectors for local practical supports and social activities, such as video chats, online book clubs or fitness groups.
Cr Attley said in order to help older Victorians stay connected and participate in social activities during the pandemic, a Social Support Hub has also been set up at the Victorian Government’s Seniors Online website seniorsonline.vic.gov.au/servicesinformation/social-support-hub. Seniors can find out what services and activities are available in their local area via the Hub.
The Hub will be regularly updated with information and links to other community-based organisations offering support and activities to older Victorians, including information about phone line support and local community connectors.