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ANZAC Day | Bushfires Report | A podcast and a phone call to keep you socially connected

24 April 2020

Hi everyone,

Last week I had a Facebook live session for anyone to ask anything. We had ‘announced’ this on Facebook the week before and had received over 517 questions (primarily related to the bushfire response). So during the Facebook live sessions that is where I focussed my answers. Thanks to everyone for participating. If you’d like to view a recording of it, head over to our Facebook page.

We’ve also recently published the Bushfires Report - an account of how we’ve been responding to those impacted by the Black Summer bushfires for the period January to mid-April.  

Outlook on COVID-19

COVID-19 continues to dominate everyone’s lives.  It is sad to see the growing impacts around the world – to those infected, to those who love those infected, to the health workers, to those who have lost their livelihoods and the list goes on and on.  The tentacles of this pandemic are long and varied. 

It is great to see how Australians have responded and how we are together flattening the curve. I’ve found the virtual choirs, dancing, cocktails, birthday parties great to see and also loved seeing people supporting each other. I’ve also really missed being able to be close to those I love.

The Government recently announced that they will gradually ease restrictions on elective surgery from Tuesday 28 April 2020. Things are looking a little bit brighter with the number of cases reducing but we've still got a long way to go.

So long as the virus is ‘out there’, it will be impacting lives and livelihoods here in Australia and elsewhere. I think we are all coming to realise that we’ll be living with COVID-19 and its impacts for many months to come. 

We are now working how we live and do our work in this environment. Importantly we are also starting to work through how we take the best of what’s happened and keep it going.  

I saw this quote today. “In any given moment we are given two options, to step forward into growth or to step back into safety." - Abraham Maslow

It captures what’s in many of our minds. More on this in the coming weeks. Feel free to email me with any ideas you have about how we can grow out of this experience!

Speaking of COVID-19, here are a few updates on what we’re launching.

COVID Connect - A phone call to keep you socially connected 

While there are many ways for us to stay connected during this time, things can get a little lonely and stressful for some of us. Next week, we are launching COVID Connect - a free social phone call service to provide support and community connection to people who are feeling socially isolated or experiencing loneliness as a result of COVID-19.

COVID-19 has impacted all Australians in one way or another. So it’s really important that no one faces it alone. COVID Connect is available to all adults of all ages. So it doesn’t matter whether you’re at home, in a hotel, or in a remote community. If you’re feeling isolated or stressed and could use a chat, it’s for you.

If you know any of our Red Cross clients who might benefit from a little more support during this difficult time, please share this with them. And if you’re a staff member and would like to break up your day and make a few social calls (please check with your Line Manager), I encourage you to reach out and register your interest here.

COVID Collective podcast

Next is a really good resource and practical tips to maintain your wellbeing and manage isolation during COVID-19. As the pandemic forces us indoors a new kind of community is taking shape as we are trying to bend the curve and make our community safe again. This podcast unpacks the stories and skills that will enable this new community to thrive and flourish.

Have a listen at Episode 1: Surviving Isolation which features Dr Rob Gordon (clinical psychologist) and John Richardson (National Resilience Adviser) discussing ways to stay sane while staying at home, managing disruption and psychological implications.

Connecting During COVID-19

As always it is impossible to capture all that is going on around the place with Red Cross – and that is particularly so with COVID-19.  For example, branch members in Nambucca Heads branch are using the Help Your Neighbour Card to offer support to those who could use a hand but may not ask for it.  

The branch members have also looked into using the right platform to reach out to our volunteers have differing abilities and skills with technology. This is to ensure that we are able to connect to a wide number of volunteers and attendees for meetings.

Our amazing volunteers and staff have been supporting us and our work and it's important for us to remain connected during these times. 

And further afield, our international colleagues host a regular update on what’s going on around the world. The last one had 100 volunteers joining the session. Some of our teams joined the session and two stories brought smiles to their faces: a Kenyan colleague talked about how young Kenyan volunteers are connecting with their colleagues in Colombia during the isolation and are teaching each other their respective languages and learning about each other’s cultures; and, meanwhile in Monaco, florists have teamed up with Red Cross volunteers so that flowers can be delivered to people in isolation along with food and medicines. The power of humanity!

Send a gift to your loved ones

Have you ever thought of sending a loved one a special gift? Perhaps especially so during this time. We can’t celebrate things like birthdays or graduations in person right now – so we’ve developed a way for people to do it virtually while also supporting our ongoing work.

We need your help to share these gift ideas with your network.

Real good gifts let people show family and friends that they’re thinking of them, whilst also helping to make a difference to those in our community who could use an extra helping hand right now.

You just visit the website, select your gift, and we’ll send you a digital e-card that you can pass onto the gift recipient.

It’s a great way for people to virtually show they care for both their family and friends as well as others in the community.

ANZAC Day

ANZAC Day, which takes place this Saturday marks the anniversary of the first major military action fought by Australian and New Zealand forces during the First World War.

We can’t mark ANZAC Day in the ways we normally would this year, but in our own ways, we can absolutely still reflect and commemorate the service and sacrifice of the more than 102,000 Australians who have died in wars, conflicts and peacekeeping operations. We can honour the nurses and volunteers who have supported Australian and New Zealand troops throughout history.

We may not be able to watch them march, but we can still stand by them virtually. The Australian War Memorial has confirmed they will hold a commemorative service at 5.30am (AEST) which will be broadcast live nationally on the ABC.

Whether you are playing a bugle from your driveway, watching the televised national commemorative service, or making a phone or video call to someone for whom this day has personal significance, we will remember them.

That's all for this week.
Take care. Talk to you next week.

Cheers,
Judy