A reminder to look after yourself and seek help following lockdown

Local leaders involved in the Greater Bendigo Relief and Recovery Committee, which was formed to help respond to the impacts of COVID-19 in the municipality, are reminding residents to continue to seek help and follow current health advice following the latest lockdown.

Mayor Cr Jennifer Alden said the challenges of COVID-19 would be long lasting for some people, particularly small business owners and people who were isolated or vulnerable.

“Over the recent lockdown, the City of Greater Bendigo reopened its COVID-19 help line to ensure that anyone who needed access to emergency food relief, financial assistance, or counselling or mental health support was able to receive it.

“However, over the past 18 months it has been a matter of all agencies and community groups involved in the committee working together to support residents through this time. In each stage of the pandemic they have adapted to the current need to provide information, comfort and certainty.

“This latest lockdown has been a reminder that COVID-19 is still among us and the role of local agencies and community groups remains critical to providing support in times of need.

“For example, Neighbourhood Houses have gone from sewing masks to helping people get online to book their vaccine appointment, while in the past week Bendigo Community Health Services has kept up translating the latest messaging into Dinka, Dari and Karen languages and supported people’s mental health through its HeadtoHelp hub.

“Haven; Home, Safe has continued to support rough sleepers and placed 645 people into emergency housing since March last year, and Bendigo Foodshare has sent out as much food as has been donated, noticing a larger uptake in the last week from the Salvation Army, Eaglehawk Community House, and Bendigo Family and Financial Services.

“Looking forward, despite continuing to live in a state of change, we need to follow the rules of the day and do what we can to keep ourselves and others safe.

“Right now, that means carrying our ID and showing it willingly, sign-in with pen and paper or check-in by QR code at all venues we go to, including supermarkets, remembering the basics of wearing a mask, good hand hygiene and social distancing, and getting a vaccine when it is your turn.

“For those who are in the fortunate position to have continued to work during this time, the idea of love your local and the need to support small business is greater than ever. Every little bit helps these businesses keep their lights on and doors open.”

The Greater Bendigo Relief and Recovery Committee is made up of representatives from the following organisations and community groups: City of Greater Bendigo (including Youth Council representatives), Bendigo Health, Victoria Police, Haven; Home, Safe, Bendigo Community Health Services, Bendigo Foodshare, Goldfields Library Corporation, Be.Bendigo, Bendigo and District Aboriginal Cooperative, Greater Bendigo Neighbourhood Houses, Loddon Campaspe Multicultural Services, Heathcote Health, Bendigo Loddon Primary Care Partnership, and the Department of Family, Fairness and Housing.

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