April 1, 2020

Concern Australia Board, Executive, staff and volunteers have banded together to respond to the necessary operational and service delivery changes required as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Each program has enacted our continuity plan according to risk and requirement. Detailed information on each program’s response is below, or you can visit the relevant program’s page on the Concern Australia website.

We will ensure that young people and children are provided with the necessary supports during this time, aware that many are facing heightened levels of anxiety. Our team has transitioned to virtual platforms to maintain regular contact and continue to work in a way that embodies Concern Australia’s values – Faith, Integrity, Respect and Belonging.

If you’d like more information, please email us at info@concernaustralia.org.au

Michelle Crawford
Chief Executive Officer


Hand Brake Turn

All Hand Brake Turn classes are on hold until social restrictions are lifted.

If you had enrolled in a class that has been suspended, we’ll stay in contact with you and people you’re connected with to keep you updated, and let you know your new class dates as soon as they are available.

Our workshop coordinators are still available for work and during this time of uncertainty, you can strengthen Hand Brake Turn for the future by booking your car in for a service, or donating old cars that we can work on while we are unable to hold classes.

You can continue to support Hand Brake Turn through our fiXit service, which has two main elements.

  • We repair and service donated cars that are then sold or gifted to members of the community who are in need.
  • We service cars for staff, community partners and members of the public, and make minor necessary repairs where needed.

Any income made from servicing and selling cars goes back into the Hand Brake Turn program to support disengaged young people discover a career path.

To donate cars or book a service, enquire about an enrolment or just get an update on Hand Brake Turn, contact Jonathan Sugumar on jonathan.sugumar@concernaustralia.org.au or 0406 456 599.


LiveWires

Our LiveWires after-school care program is on hold until further notice, and school holiday programs have been cancelled. We are working with local partner organisations to assess how we can provide ongoing support to children and families living in the Collingwood Public Housing Estate.



Values for Life

All Values for Life seminars are on hold.

We know how valuable our seminars are to children and young people through the feedback we receive from schools.

We know now more than ever young people need support to navigate through this time of uncertainty. To this end, we are exploring the possibility of providing online content to contribute to helping children and young people cope and build resilience in this time of dramatic change.

We’re looking forward to working with schools to help students process the impact of this challenging time as soon as it’s safe to return to classrooms.


Inside Out

We continue to fully support the young people and live-in mentors in our Inside Out homes. Virtual and phone contact means our youth workers can continue to provide frequent and tailored support.

We are in close contact with key people in the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services to ensure we can continue to support young people in our care, and our live-in mentors who are doing such a remarkable job during this time, while ensuring we observe all Government directions to prevent the spread of COVID-19.


Steps Outreach Service

We have placed our regular face-to-face outreach work on hold, and have transitioned to using virtual means to stay in touch with the young people that we know and provide them with crucial connection and support. Some of the young people don’t have phones or internet, so we’re working to get them connected. We’re so lucky to have technology that allows us to care for some of the most vulnerable young people in our community in this time of disruption.

Many of the young people we have been supporting had gained temporary or semi-permanent accommodation before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, so our ongoing connection will be focused on helping them to maintain that stability, attend to their material needs (including safely delivering food) and nurturing their mental health.

We are being guided by advice from the Council to Homeless Persons, and working with partner organisations such as Launch Housing to advocate for people who are experiencing homelessness and get young people off the street which is now more important than ever, for their safety and that of the wider community. Find out more in this article from The Age.


Chaplaincy

Our two chaplains continue to have contact with and support young men in the Malmsbury Youth Justice Centre. This may change as Governments continue to take further steps to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and protect the most vulnerable.