DATE: 27 October 2021
Support available for those most impacted by COVID-19
Community and Cultural Connections (CCCi) has been a crucial part of the frontline response to the latest COVID-19 outbreak, delivering much-needed support to the hardest hit communities throughout south-western and inner western Sydney.
CCCi has been providing free food hampers with grocery items, fresh food, and other essentials to vulnerable people and families, including households that have tested positive for COVID-19. These services are part of CCCi’s emergency crisis relief program, which began in April 2020 when the pandemic first hit.
Support for our local communities is needed now more than ever. CCCi has been receiving increased requests for assistance at a rate far exceeding levels of demand experienced in 2020. At the beginning of August 2021, we supported 20 families, and that number has been growing each week, with almost 150 families now being supported by CCCi. More people have been impacted by the virus, with many experiencing loss of income, increased social isolation, and uncertainty. Many are faced with additional complex issues such as domestic abuse, homelessness, disability, and chronic illness.
CCCi has also been working to provide bilingual and culturally appropriate support for vaccine access. Our communities know that vaccination is the key to protection and freedom from the pandemic. However, support is needed for vulnerable people to access the vaccine. Transport to vaccination venues, assistance to navigate health systems, and language support have been crucial to ensuring that everyone has been able to receive the vaccine.
CCCi has already helped many elderly and vulnerable people get their lifesaving COVID-19 vaccine. Our staff have assisted by locating local services, helping to fill out forms, and providing transport to vaccination appointments. Many people who are isolated, live alone, or are not proficient in English have been able to get the one-on-one support they need become fully vaccinated.
The Delta outbreak has demonstrated how these challenges not only affect certain individuals, but also the community as a whole. If one person is vulnerable, it places the whole community at risk.
“The current systems of support can be very hard to navigate for those who speak English as a second language,” said Vi Pham, Executive Officer at CCCi.
“Many of these systems and helplines are also being overwhelmed with demand – they can’t keep up.”
Marie, a Guildford resident contacted CCCi after being unable to obtain support from the dedicated COVID-19 helplines. Isolating in a COVID-positive household, Marie was unable to obtain any food to feed her sick family of eight people.
Stressed and locked down with a large family of people, Marie found that no help seemed to be available from the helplines she was provided with. CCCi was able to coordinate a food hamper and other essentials for delivery to her home that afternoon with the assistance of the local crisis relief services network.
Hoa is a young mother who was referred to CCCi after her husband had been admitted to hospital to be treated for COVID-19, leaving her alone to care for three toddlers. Hoa herself had also contracted COVID-19, and was fighting the virus while caring for one of her own children who was also sick.
“I was scared and exhausted. I wasn’t sure what to do,” Hoa comments.
The CCCi team worked to assist Hoa to navigate access to health services and authorities. Food, nappies, medicine and other essential items were sent to her home.
Hoa asked a CCCi team member to contact her every day during her isolation period. She was lonely and needed to talk to someone in her language to get emotional support and reduce her stress.
“After putting the kids in bed, I cried through the night, struggling with thoughts of what would happen with my little ones if I couldn’t get up in the morning. Talking with you helped me a lot.”
After spending two months in hospital, Yousif is unable to work as he continues to receive treatment for cancer. His newly arrived migrant wife does not receive any safety net payment. After paying his rent, he is left with only $30 a day for bills, internet data, school fees, medical expenses and food for the three people in his household. CCCi has been able to support people like Yousif by providing much-needed bill payment assistance.
Support like this has been crucial as COVID-19 cases have steadily risen. The systems and networks in place to support communities have been overwhelmed with people in similar situations to Yousif’s.
Even as we begin to emerge from this lockdown, the threat of the Delta variant will remain in the community. Those who are most vulnerable will continue to need holistic support to ensure that no one is ‘left behind’ as the city re-opens.
CCCi’s Crisis Relief program aims to provide support for those impacted by COVID-19, particularly people from Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) backgrounds. Anyone in crisis who resides in (but not limited to) Canterbury Bankstown, Burwood, Strathfield, Liverpool, Fairfield, Inner West, and City of Sydney LGAs, is eligible to receive assistance.
The CCCi team can speak bilingual Arabic, Cantonese, Indonesian, Mandarin, Malay, and Vietnamese languages. Regardless of language spoken, anyone in need can contact the CCCi office on 0404 937 298, or email email@example.com.
Funding for CCCi’s Bilingual COVID-19 Community Support program has been provided by the City of Canterbury Bankstown Council, Inner West Council for COVID19 Emergency Relief and the NSW Government through the 2021 Empowering and Supporting Local Communities and Nurture through Culture – Supporting Multicultural Communities projects.
For further details & media enquiries:
Vi Pham, Executive Officer, 0404 937 298 firstname.lastname@example.org or
Susan Chen, Community Development Officer, 0470 593 207 email@example.com
To find out more about CCCi’s Bilingual COVID-19 Community Support program please go to https://www.ccci.org.au/crisiscare