The ACT Council of Social Service (ACTCOSS) has today welcomed $1.4 million over four years to deliver a new Technology Upgrade Fund for community service organisations.
ACTCOSS CEO, Dr Emma Campbell, said: “Even before COVID-19 there was a high level of need among Canberrans for the services of our hard-working and dedicated community sector organisations. Since the COVID-19 health and economic crisis, we know that many individuals and families in the ACT are facing even greater difficulties.
“Improved technology can assist in the provision of services to our clients. Technology upgrades can enable community organisations to engage with people in new and innovative ways and deliver services more effectively.
“A greater online presence can also assist organisations to share information with Canberrans in need of our services but who are unaware of the services available. This might include translating websites into other languages, increasing an organisation’s social media presence or upgrading a website,” said Dr Campbell.
Canberra’s community organisations are struggling to meet demand as they deal with increased need resulting from the COVID-19 health and economic crisis and a reduction in JobSeeker and related income support payments following the removal of the Coronavirus Supplement.
Dr Campbell said: “We have heard from our member organisations, including those providing community legal, mental health, domestic violence, youth and emergency relief services, that there is growing need. Yet, some of our critical community services are facing the prospect of staff redundancies as funding runs out at the end of the financial year.
“Current levels of funding for the community sector are insufficient to meet the daily operational requirements of many organisations. This means that capital investments and other upgrades are often delayed.
“The Technology Upgrade Fund will go some way to help community organisations to purchase new technology to enable Canberrans facing disadvantage and vulnerability to access and receive the services that they need,” Dr Campbell concluded.
ACTCOSS advocates for social justice in the ACT and represents not-for-profit community organisations.