A public statement from Michelle Crawford, CEO of Concern Australia, 16 March, 2020

Concern Australia is a people-centred organisation and we take seriously the wellbeing of young people and children in our care, along with our staff, volunteers and key stakeholders.

Overnight, the Victorian Premier, Daniel Andrews, declared a State of Emergency in Victoria effective Monday, 16 March, 2020. We believe now is a time for communities to act and support each other.

As of Monday 16 March, we have enacted our Pandemic Management Plan (with weekly review) to ensure the wellbeing and safety of all.

We seek your support in achieving this and would ask if you or an immediate family member have recently returned from overseas or are displaying any COVID-19 symptoms, that you avoid contact with our organisation or any of our representatives.

As CEO, I have asked staff and volunteers to cancel external face-to-face meetings where possible. We would encourage all to use digital platforms to enable these meetings to take place as an effective and safe alternative to meeting in person.

We have suspended the core activities of two of our programs effective immediately (LiveWires and Steps Outreach Service), and another from 23 March 2020 (Values for Life).

We will closely monitor each situation to ensure the safety of our team and the young people in our care, particularly those experiencing homelessness or living in one of the properties that we manage.

While staying calm, we see the need to act in a cautious and responsible manner during these trying times, particularly to ensure the wellbeing of those within our community who are vulnerable. We seek to be responsible members of society to play our role in slowing down the anticipated spread of COVID-19.

COVID-19 will hit those living with disadvantage the most. During this time of unprecedented uncertainty, we continue to directly support vulnerable young people through our programs.

This will include Concern Australia staff providing support to the children, young people and families who usually engage with the activities of our suspended programs via phone, video calls and other means assessed on a case-by-case basis.

While we are able to do our important work through your unflinching support, it is during times like these that we appreciate your generosity more than ever. Please consider donating to enable us to continue providing care and guidance to our young people at such a crucial time.

We want to assure you that we continue to hold strong to our faith and know that we are not alone. We appreciate the ongoing practical and prayerful support shown by those who support us in our work.

May you know peace during these times of uncertainty.

Michelle Crawford
Chief Executive Officer
michelle.crawford@concernaustralia.org.au