Keeping households fed and informed

October 23, 2021 BY

The essentials: BRMC’s Social Support Team are working to ensure seniors have the public health information they need. Photo: SUPPLIED

BALLARAT Regional Multicultural Council has received State funding to ensure new and emerging communities and seniors are kept safe, healthy and informed.

With Priority Response to Multicultural Communities funding, executive officer Ann Foley said BRMC’s bi-cultural social support teams can provide care and information throughout the COVID-19 response.

“The care part of the package involves ensuring people who’ve become isolated, or who’ve lost jobs, or are supporting large households, are not short of food and other household needs,” she said.

“We’ve identified families and individuals, and have supported them with those impacts of COVID, really for almost a year now, and more recently we’re providing that care to seniors who are vulnerable because they’re especially isolated.

“It’s about making sure they’re receiving the information they need to access vaccinations, support and information about vaccinations, and that information regarding the pandemic, changes to the roadmap, restrictions, testing and isolation, is in the languages and formats they can understand.”

Identifying households in need of support, whether they’re experiencing economic hardship, or are needing to isolate for weeks, BRMC’s staff then make COVID-safe home visits.

They drop off supplies, make phone calls, and keep in regular contact to ensure they’re fully aware of their communities’ wellbeing.

Within the last month, 25 cooked meals, 160 food kits and 160 winter care packs have been dropped off. One hundred and sixty welfare checks and calls have been made.

Forty-one food kits, and 128 emergency non-food packages have helped 59 families in new and emerging communities.

Ms Foley said this has been “very much appreciated,” and those receiving support have been letting staff know when they’re on their feet, so BRMC can aid other households in need, as hardship lands with them.

“Seniors are loving the contact, but really looking forward to coming back together for social gatherings.

“In the new and emerging communities, they appreciate receiving foods that are culturally appropriate, and knowing that they’re part of a community and are included in the care,” she said.

“We have a team of people from diverse backgrounds who understand what food’s useful and appropriate, and what’s not, so we deliver food knowing that it will be used, enjoyed and not be wasted.”

BRMC is collaborating with the Grampians Public Health Unit, supported by the Victorian Multicultural Commission and Ethnic Communities Council of Victoria, to work with multicultural community leaders on their strategies for pandemic preparedness.

They are also hosting pop-up vaccination hubs at their Ballarat Welcome Centre in partnership with Ballarat Community Health. So far, 582 vaccinations have been delivered.

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