Rapid response funding supports COVID-driven demand for community services

City of Newcastle has provided $110,000 towards the purchase of food packages and toiletries, as well as crisis accommodation, counselling and web connectivity to community groups responding to the current lockdown of the city.

Newcastle lord mayor Nuatali Nelmes said the funding was part of an expanded Community and Economic Resilience Package (CERP) designed to combat the economic and social impacts of the current lockdown.

“City of Newcastle has an important role in coordinating local services and providing targeted support,” Cr Nelmes said.

“When the pandemic was declared last year City of Newcastle was quick to respond to the needs of our community, providing rapid financial support to frontline services struggling to cope with the sudden surge in demand.

“With the current Delta outbreak placing added strain on community members and the services that support them, City of Newcastle has expanded this response, dispersing more than $110,000 amongst 15 community organisations.

“Our Rapid Response Grants will give these organisations the resources they need to address critical challenges for some of our most vulnerable residents as we continue to work together to stay safe and keep our community strong.”

The grants will allow existing service providers to supply nutritious food and vouchers for essential needs, improve access to community services, address issues such as social isolation, and increase access to affordable internet, digital technology and equipment to improve participation in education and access to essential services. 

Erin Beard from the Family Support Network said the funding would allow them to help more families by providing food, toiletries and baby items, as well as school supplies to help children and young people improve their home learning experience.

“We are all generally feeling the stress of lockdown but for families who are already under duress, these COVID times add an extra load. This grant from City of Newcastle has meant we can relieve some of that stress,” Ms Beard said.

“With the impact of COVID-19 we have changed the way we are providing services and with more online groups and facetime calls, we are aware of the burden of this on families who need to use their data and internet for this support. For children that are doing online learning as part of home schooling, data usage can be an additional cost. This grant means we can support families in a practical way, by covering some of the associated costs. 

“We can also provide basic necessities for babies and children, meet some of their school needs and relieve some of the burden of the cost of grocery items.”

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