Our top picks for how YOU can support your community during the COVID-19 Pandemic

COVID-19 is causing great upheaval in our society. The physical distancing restrictions necessary to prevent the virus spreading are causing considerable financial and social stress to many sectors and groups within our communities. If you, however, find yourself with a bit of time on your hands, wondering how you can make a difference, here are our top 8 tips:

  1. Give Blood:

Whilst blood isn’t necessarily required to treat COVID-19 patients, Australia still needs 29,000 blood donations every week to maintain supply for a variety of uses. Lives depend on donated blood, it helps people recover from surgery, accidents and even cancer. Regular blood donors may be self-isolating if they are in vulnerable groups so it’s up to the rest of us to bridge the gap. If you are generally well and healthy check out how to donate here https://www.donateblood.com.au/one-step-closer

  1. Support food banks and charities:

As more people face financial hardship and food insecurity, these organisations will be relied upon more than ever to support people in need. Usual fundraising activities have been curtailed reducing their ability to maintain their community service delivery. If at all financially possible keep up your donations to local charities, not forgetting our furry friends who are facing hardship and food shortages.

  1. Support local businesses:

The best way to keep people employed is for the public to keep buying businesses products/services. Restaurants, cafes and other discretionary goods providers are going to be hardest hit by the pandemic as people stop spending. When cafes are open for takeaway for example, it is important that people still buy their goods so they can stay open and minimise job losses and economic hardship. Another way to help businesses is to buy gift cards and give yourself something to look forward to when you are cashing them in with your friends.

  1. Bolster the volunteer pool:

We are seeing some volunteers reduce their usual involvement, especially if they are in a particularly vulnerable group or have to provide increased support for family and friends. Whilst some not-for-profit activity is on hold, other volunteer roles are now in higher demand such as community transport, community visitor schemes, shopping trip support etc. Food banks and other community delivery services will also need more drivers as well as cooks to keep up with rising demand and adaptation of services that perhaps were provided in a community centre setting. Restrictions change daily and we will endeavour to keep our volunteer opportunity database up to date. https://www.vnq.org.au/quick-search/

  1. Virtual Vollies:

Volunteering online is a great way of helping the community while still adhering to self-isolation or social distancing requirements. It is just like working online, all you need is a computer and internet and you can volunteer your time and talents from your home. There are all sorts of volunteer opportunities that can be done online such as writing thank-you letters to web design and more. Even if you don’t consider yourself computer-savvy there will be opportunities to do check in phone calls to people who are more socially isolated than ever.

  1. Write a note or a letter to someone you do or don’t know:

It sounds simple but what a great way to connect with a neighbour, friend or older relative during this time. There are a lot of aged care facilities imposing visitor restrictions to reduce the risk to our older Australians who would love to hear from you! Why not encourage the children to write a letter to their grandparents/aunts/uncles complete with artwork masterpieces. Here are two great resources that you can use and distribute around your street or local neighbourhood.

https://www.townsville.qld.gov.au/about-townsville/living-in-townsville/being-neighbourly https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10163194559985324&set=gm.582700855665916&type=3&theater&ifg=1

  1. Check out your local Community Radio station

Community radio stations have their finger on the pulse in your local community and bring a rich mix of culture and entertainment that you will find refreshing in these trying times. Community radio stations also depend heavily on volunteers and local support especially from businesses who are also doing it tough and may have to withdraw or downsize their financial contributions. By engaging with these community groups we are demonstrating our solidarity in supporting services that mean a lot to listeners who are doing it tough. So tune in! https://www.triplet.com.au/       

  1. Look after your community by looking after yourself

If you find yourself in lockdown why not try 14 ways in 14 days, a Corona Connection Chain Campaign initiated by the Kindness Kommunity. Focussing on what you can do rather than what you can’t is a useful mindset shift to improve mental health and resilience. Check out some ideas that the people of Townsville have been coming up with… ukulele anyone? #14for14campaign https://www.facebook.com/thekindnesskommunity/

Rest assured, Volunteering North Queensland is working closely with our not-for-profit members in this unprecedented time to gather information on what the volunteering sector needs right now so we can provide well thought out, targeted support. We will be updating our volunteering opportunities to reflect the changing nature and needs of the community. In the meantime, we need you to look after you.