COVID-19 and our neighbours
In these times of self-isolation and social distancing there may be people in our community, and especially those who live alone, who could do with some friendly neighbourhood assistance. I have heard of two instances where Glebe Society members are checking with elderly and single-dwelling neighbours, offering help with shopping or other chores where it is safe to do so. I’m sure there are many more. Even a regular phone call to someone you know in this situation could give needed support.
Yesterday I had a much longer than usual phone conversation with a friend who is obviously feeling the need of a good talk to ease that sense of isolation, and this set me thinking. If you know of anyone you can offer the hand – no not the hand – but the voice of friendship to, or perform a small service for, please do. If you yourself can’t help, perhaps you could contact email@example.com with your concerns, or offers to assist, and we’ll see what can be done to connect people. Thank you for your neighbourliness.
Community Development Convenor
Challenges for Glebe Youth Service
A 20 March Sydney Morning Herald article by Jacqueline Maley included an interview with Keiran Kevans who runs the Glebe Youth Service. He is deeply concerned that school closures will have a multiplier effect on the disadvantaged. Below is an extract from the article.
But what about the respite that working outside the home brings from working in it? For parents, work is the place where we can dawdle in our own thoughts, free from the interruptions of small people with preternatural powers of insistence.
And the daily commute, once a sanctified space for reading, podcasts, or staring peaceably into space, has vanished in a cloud of hand-sanitiser and fear.
But for many families these concerns are laughably middle-class.
Keiran Kevans runs the Glebe Youth Service, which has provided social support and programs to disadvantaged kids in Glebe for 30 years. Most of his kids (75 per cent of whom are from Indigenous backgrounds) do not have internet at home, or access to a device.
‘It’s going to hit a lot harder for them’, Kevans says of school closures. ‘It’ll be like a multiplier effect on that disadvantage. There will be more child protection matters and a likelihood of more unfavourable contact with the police.’
Kevans believes a lot of the kids who visit his service will be bored at home and will go roaming. Mostly he worries for their education. ‘Their engagement with learning is often precarious and this could be the event that means total disengagement from school and they never return’, he says. ‘We need to be thinking a lot harder about how we can help those kids.’
Glebe Youth Service’s letter to supporters
The Society received this email on 26 March from Kieran Kevans via Janice, our Community Development Subcommittee Convenor:
We are writing to provide a quick update about GYS and our COVID-19 response. These are tough times, many of you will be feeling the impacts socially, economically and psychologically – we are in uncharted waters as an organisation, a community, and as a nation. It is so crucial we support each other through this crisis.
Glebe Youth Service has a vision for a thriving Glebe community and our purpose is to support all young people in our community to reach their full potential. Our programs and services focus on; health, safety, skills, and connection. We value positivity, perseverance, partnership and community, and we are drawing strength from these values to help us navigate this perilous time and continue to support our community.
GYS has been reviewing the COVID-19 situation daily and we are modifying our service model to minimise risk and ensure best practice. We are strictly adhering to federal and state health guidelines and we have implemented COVID-19 protocols. These include:
- Strict hygiene measures – hand-washing, sanitiser and additional cleaning.
- Symptom screening staff/clients (phone).
- Physical distancing.
- Limiting staff numbers in the building.
- Closing the building to clients and community.
Safety and public health is our highest concern at this time, so regrettably, the following programs are on hold:
- All after school group activities including Teen-Time (Drop-in), ‘Girlzone’, ‘Boyzone’, Middle Ground and Homework Tutoring.
- After Dark ‘drop in’ (moving to an outreach model).
- Client walk-ins.
- In-person casework, intake and advocacy.
- Events and sports activities.
In order to continue to serve our community we have shifted our service model. We are focusing on:
- Phone & video call support.
- Food relief – we are using no-contact methods to continue food distribution.
- Outreach support (under strict distancing and hygiene protocols).
We are working collaboratively with local services, government, health and other agencies to explore collaborative approaches to best support our local community through this global pandemic.
In Glebe, we are experiencing high levels of demand for essential household items such as cleaning products, sanitary products and non-perishable food items. We are also seeking donations of unwanted computers, laptops and smartphones to distribute to school students who do not have a device to work on at home.
If you are able to consider a donation, either of physical items or financially, it would be greatly appreciated.
We understand that this might not be possible at this time – we are thankful for your support to date. Please stay safe!
Centipede and COVID-19
As most people will be aware there is a great deal of uncertainty about the increasing impact of COVID-19 on our schools and preschools. At the time of writing (22 March) Centipede is still functioning and will do so as long as it is able to. This is especially the case if Glebe Public School remains open, and where it is trying to maintain service for children whose parents are employed in the health industry. There are several such families at Centipede.
Consequently, as some families are already withdrawing their children, often at short notice, the management of Centipede is faced with the situation where income is falling, but staff must be paid. If they are casuals they must be given 24 hours’ notice if their shift is cancelled. Parents are also being asked to give 24 hours’ notice if their child is not going to attend, but uncertainty is still the order of the day. Centipede also provides meals for children, and shortages of supplies has been another problem for management.
As this important Glebe community service is one that Glebe Society members have been engaged with through our annual Sunset Soirée fundraiser for Centipede, I’d like to inform you of the following possibilities. Firstly, the Soirée is unlikely to take place this year, but if a fundraiser does eventuate it is likely to be in another format and location that can accommodate Glebe Society supporters who will be invited as usual, as well as more Centipede parents. Secondly, rather than wait until October or whenever an improvement in the health situation may allow social events to occur, Glebe Society supporters of Centipede may like to assist at this time of need. The two substantial ways in which that can happen are explained below. Please consider offering what assistance you can.
1. Donations of goods needed. A specific list of items would include, but not be limited to:
- Pasta, rice and cereal
- Tinned tomatoes and pasta sauce
- Tinned and package soups
- Tinned fruit, beans and vegetables
- Toilet paper and tissues
- Hand soaps
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone or text 0401 505 657 to arrange a pick up.
2. A Monetary donation
All donations are tax deductible.
Direct Credit. BSB 062-172. Account No. 10239391
Use your name plus ‘FOC’ as the reference.
To request your tax deductible receipt email your name and details of your donation to email@example.com
Thank you in anticipation of your help for this important Glebe community service and please ‘stay safe’ yourselves.
Community Development Subcommitee
Changed arrangements for the monthly Bulletin
Every month, 6 to -8 members meet over a dining table to prepare the Glebe Society Bulletin for posting or hand delivery. It will come as no surprise that this is no longer possible.
The Bulletin will be emailed only, by default, to every member until further notice. A very small number of Bulletins will be printed, for our Archives and several libraries, and for the five or six people who do not have a computer or access to email, and for those who might request a printed copy due to their special needs.
If there’s more than one member in a household, you are entitled to have a Bulletin emailed to each member in the household. Contact our Secretary by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org to provide any additional email addresses.
I trust that you will understand this change of arrangements, given the extraordinary times that we are now living in.