Love thy neighbour and offer a helping hand

The Nationals Member for Eastern Victoria Region, Melina Bath has launched an initiative to encourage people to look out for older and vulnerable community members during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ms Bath has launched a ‘neighbourhood assistance card’ which she is encouraging people to fill out and drop in the letterbox of someone in their neighbourhood who might need help.

The assistance card asks people to write their contact details and a list of jobs they can assist a neighbour while they are in self-isolation, like picking up urgent supplies or posting mail.

“From the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, I have been concerned the state government has limited information on people in our community who might require assistance,” Ms Bath said.

“Often in regional communities the message tree in our own neighbourhood works best and our friends and family provide many informal forms of support which are potentially cut off though restrictions.

“Our regional communities tend to pull together in wonderful ways.  The neighbourhood assistance card enables you to offer a hand or become a buddy to someone in need during these challenging times.

“Across Gippsland, I have found that most people want to do what they can to help others get through this time.  Where no formal group has been set up, this is a very simple way we can assist someone who just might need it.”

“It is absolutely critical that we work together in our home towns to check-in with our neighbours, particularly those who are elderly and require additional support.

“Not all neighbours will have their family or friends living close by who are able to help them with errands like picking up the groceries, putting out the bins or posting mail.

“Sometimes it is as simple as phoning someone to check in on them. Just being a friendly voice on the other end of the phone can make the world of difference to someone living alone during these difficult times.”