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Keeping local communities connected

13 Jul, 2020

Victorians experiencing loneliness or social disconnection due to coronavirus will receive support from the Australian Red Cross and local community organisations with one call to the coronavirus hotline, thanks to a new  Victorian Government initiative.

Minister for Disability, Ageing and Carers Luke Donnellan has launched the Community Activation and Social Isolation initiative with more than $6 million over six months to support people experiencing loneliness or social disconnection as a result of coronavirus (COVID-19).

The initiative is part of the Victorian Government’s $59.4 million mental health and wellbeing package, helping Victorians with additional supports to deal with significant changes to our lives as a result of the pandemic.

For many Victorians, physical distancing and social or work-related restrictions have led to feelings of loneliness and disconnection. For those already lonely or isolated before the pandemic, it’s been even harder to get help to feel happy and well.

The Community Activation and Social Isolation initiative will expand the Victorian coronavirus hotline (1800 675 398) by partnering with the Australian Red Cross whose volunteers have been trained in psychological first aid to provide emotional support and help to callers who may be distressed or anxious.

The hotline will also link people in need to community connectors for local practical supports and social activities, such as video chats, online book clubs or fitness groups.

To help older Victorians stay connected and participate in social activities during the pandemic, a Social Support Hub has also been set up at the Victorian Government’s Seniors Online website at seniorsonline.vic.gov.au/services-information/social-support-hub.