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Support for people feeling isolated during COVID-19

Published: 21 July 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic and the need to slow the virus’ spread mean many people are struggling with having little to no face-to-face contact with others.

But for Cardinia Shire community members experiencing loneliness or social disconnection during this difficult time, help is at hand via the new Community Activation and Social Isolation (CASI) initiative.

CASI offers social, emotional and practical support for people who are isolated during COVID-19.

Council has received funding from the Victorian Government to deliver the program to the Cardinia Shire community, in partnership with the Red Cross, DHHS and our local providers.

Cardinia Shire residents needing support can call the COVID-19 hotline on 1800 675 398 then choose option 3. They will then speak to a Red Cross volunteer who has been specially trained to support people who might be distressed or anxious.

The Red Cross volunteer will connect callers with the right support or refer them to Council to connect them with local services and organisations. Alternatively, those wanting support can call Council directly on 1300 787 624 to speak with our CASI support officer.

Support might include wellbeing check-ins, assistance with video chatting to stay connected with family, linking people with online social and community activities, or providing help to run errands, collect items from the shops or with online applications.

If you know of someone who may benefit from this support, you can also contact the COVID-19 hotline and get some assistance on how to encourage others to seek support.

Cardinia Shire Mayor Cr Jeff Springfield said Council welcomed the funding for the much-needed initiative.

“Council is well placed to be able to help provide local, practical support to people struggling in our community. We’re proud that Council is able to help deliver this important program.

“We look forward to working in close partnership with the Red Cross and our many wonderful local organisations to assist our most vulnerable community members.”

Cr Springfield said there is no doubt that “there are more people than ever who are feeling alone and a bit lost at sea due to COVID-19.

“For people who were already quite isolated, COVID-19 is exacerbating this due to restrictions and the need to physically distance. Others are needing to self-isolate due to age or poor health. And then there are others who don’t usually experience loneliness, but who are missing regular face-to-face interaction and struggling with the many changes that COVID-19 has brought to our lives.

“We hope this will be a valuable and comforting service in what is a lonely and difficult time for many.”

Council is currently working on a local support network directory of organisations able to offer support and relief services during COVID-19. This will be available soon on Council’s website at www.cardinia.vic.gov.au/casi

 

To access CASI

For emotional support Call the COVID-19 hotline on 1800 675 398 and choose option 3.

To be connected with local support networks and groups

Call Cardinia Shire Council on 1300 787 624 and ask to speak to the CASI support officer, or complete the online form on Council’s website at www.cardinia.vic.gov.au/casi

For more COVID-19 information and support visit www.cardinia.vic.gov.au/coronavirus

CASI will assist people to build or maintain important connections with family, friends and the wider community, and put them in touch with local organisations, groups and support networks.