Help is only a phone call away with Bellarine Community Support Register

April 2, 2020 BY

BCSR’s Denise Hibbins is pictured with Constable Kat Alexander.

WITH Facebook groups popping up offering assistance to older and vulnerable Bellarine residents, Denise Hibbins from Bellarine Community Support Register (BCSR), wants to remind the community of their reputable service.
BCSR supports the safety and independence of older and vulnerable Bellarine residents, holding information that can be accessed by police in a personal emergency; all volunteers are required to have a current police check.
“The service has been around since 2006, I’ve been involved for about five years. From Monday to Friday we have a roster of volunteers that man the phone from 9.30am until 12pm,” Ms Hibbins said.
“Every shift we have a data and phone volunteer, one enters new registrants and keeps everyone’s information up to date and current like their emergency contacts, and the phone volunteer makes phone calls as requested.”
BCSR are currently operating remotely but work out of the Bellarine Police Station thanks to “fantastic support”, with the station providing a space and telephone for the organisation.
“We currently have 1,400 people on our register. Some people request we phone them weekly, others once every couple of weeks, and some people never but we have their information on file in case of an emergency.
“We phone them and ask how they are, some people want to have a chat, they let us know that we are the only person they can talk to about what’s troubling them.”
Ms Hibbins said it was more important than ever to let the community know about their service, to ensure the safety of those most at risk.
“A lot of our members have contacted us or registered online, we can send out a form that they can fill out and send back. We go to a lot of community events like markets and social forums and let people know what we do.
“We don’t offer counselling we are a care service run by volunteers, but the difference between groups that are popping up, is that everyone involved in our organisation must have a current police check and complete training.”
Ms Hibbins said if they can’t get a hold of one of their registrants, they organise a welfare check through the police and get the police to check on people from time to time.
“The support we receive from the police is brilliant. The majority of people on our list are in their 60s, but anyone is able to register. We do have people with a disability, and the odd younger person in their late 20s to early 30s.
“The community has let us know that we are an important service particularly when there’s a lot of people out there stressed, worried and concerned about the current times and pandemic.
“We can make referrals we make care calls, if there is someone worried or in need of a chat, if you are on your own and looking for added support, then we are here.”
To register, community members are encouraged to text their information: name, address and phone number to 0480 228 674 or register online at bellarineregister.org.au.

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