Due to COVID-19, we have had to make some pretty big changes to the way we support people with a disability, operate our businesses, and raise money for people with a disability.
We have had to make some drastic changes to our accommodation services to keep residents safe. Here are some of the changes which have been made.
Ensuring we provide our services in a safe manner: We have not had any customer or staff confirmed cases of COVID-19 to date. We have protocols in place in case we do. We are following Australian Health Department guidelines – and various other trusted sources – to prepare and respond to the virus.
Practising good hygiene: All our staff are across this and are supporting customers to make sure they follow effective handwashing, coughing and sneezing etiquette.
Taking any symptoms very seriously: All our staff are monitoring their own health and the health of the customers we support.
Encouraging our customers to stay home: In line with new rules by the Government, we are encouraging customers in our accommodation services to stay home.
We’ve stopped all group activities at Community hubs: Many customers had already decided to stop attending our hubs – so there were less and less people in the service. Staff were on hand to help people make other arrangements and to talk to customers about how we can best support them in the future.
Community-based flexible support activities have changed: We are looking at more one-on-one supports. For example, we won’t take customers to sporting clubs and gyms (places the Government has ‘shut down’). Instead, we’ll work with customers and families to come up with other options.
All centre-based respite activities have stopped: We can’t accept any new entries to respite and have made other plans for customers who are currently using our respite services.
Early Childhood Intervention (ECI) continue where it is safe to do so: We’ll monitor and adapt the way we deliver ECI services to ensure they are safe such as providing more services remotely.
Our businesses provide employment for over 470 people with a disability across NSW and Qld.
Due to a combination of factors including Government restrictions, social distancing and declining sales as a result, there have been some significant closures to a number of these Businesses.
Summerland Farm (Northern NSW): This is our Avocado and Macadamia farm in Alstonville that thrives as a tourist attraction. We’re safely continuing to produce our agricultural products and continuing our packing services. However, our farm’s attractions, café and function venues are currently closed.
Our Commercial Laundry (Hunter, NSW): Hotels aren’t busy, so there’s not much demand for laundry services. A reduced staff team is supporting our customers.
Recycling (Hunter, NSW): Our Recycling business has closed its doors for now.
Aussie Biscuits (Forbes, NSW): We have closed our biscuit factory and shop BUT have plenty of stock and are still taking orders from the public. You can email us on firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1300 399 522.
We have even had to review some of fundraising activities that we rely upon to deliver much needed funds for our services and businesses. As you can understand, this is further adding to financial pressures for the organisation.
Cancellation of For Fitness Sake: Sadly, we have had to cancel this event, which was due to take place in June.
Government restrictions are likely to be in place for at least six months (unless notified otherwise), and given the impact this will have on an event that requires people to be out and about, we thought it best to cancel until we are out of the woods with the pandemic.
We apologise to the participants who were looking forward to the event. So were we!
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