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Community Activation and Social Isolation initiative (CASI)

Mel is the local community connector as part of the Community Activation and Social Isolation Initiative (CASI)

Information on how to access support for anyone feeling lonely or isolated due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Neighbour Day 2021

The winner of the Neighbourly Stories draw is Catherine Shields of Castlemaine!
Thanks Catherine for sharing your story of how your young neighbour helped you out recently. Catherine has won a local produce hamper valued at $100. The draw took place at Castlemaine Community Lunch on 30 March 2021.

A huge thank you to all the others entrants for also sharing their stories.

Neighbour Day is held on Sunday 28 March and is Australia’s annual celebration of community, bringing together the people next door, across the street or on the next farm for a chat, a BBQ or just a cuppa.

For Neighbour Day 2021, we are asking everyone in Mount Alexander Shire to get creative, reach out and get involved.

Share a Cuppa with your neighbour

Share a cup of tea or coffee with your neighbour. To help you connect with your neighbour we have put together a pack of goodies including teabags, connection cards, recipes and printed resources.

Pick up a free Share a Cuppa pack from:

• Council’s Civic Centre
• Castlemaine Community House
• Maldon Neighbourhood Centre
• Castlemaine Library
• Chirp Community Health
• Campbells Creek Post Office
• Harcourt General Store
• Newstead Rural Transaction Centre
• Taradale service station
• Guildford General Store
• Chewton General Store

Tell us your neighbourly story

Enter your story for a chance to win a local produce hamper valued at $100.

The winner will be drawn at the Castlemaine Community Lunch on Tuesday 30 March 2021 and notified by email and published on Council’s website.

Neighbour Day is a national event that aims to increase positive and sustainable social connections between people and communities throughout Australia. To reflect the Every Day is Neighbour Day theme for Neighbour Day 2021, we’re asking you to tell us your story of connecting with a neighbour over the past year which might include:

• how you or your neighbours reached out to vulnerable and/or lonely members of your community and what you have done to create a connection and/or stay connected;
• new neighbourly connections (or reconnections with neighbours you already knew) and how that came about;
• a place or service or activity in your neighbourhood that fosters connection
• friendship and/or support of people in your neighbourhood;
• any other good news story about social connection.

Download the Neighbourly Stories Entry Form.

Submit your entry form by Monday 29 March by email to m.fowler@mountalexander.vic.gov.au or deliver to one of the participating organisations (Council, Chirp Community Health, Castlemaine Community House or Maldon Neighbourhood Centre). Or submit at the Castlemaine Community Lunch by 1pm on Tuesday 30 March.

Invite your neighbour to a Community Lunch

Two for one deal when you attend with your neighbour!

• Wednesday 24 March at Maldon Community Centre. To book phone 5475 2093 or email info@maldonnc.org.au
• Tuesday 30 March at St Mary's Hall in Castlemaine. To book contact Castlemaine Community House on 5472 4842 or visit www.bit.ly/2ZXrAmP

Invite your neighbour for a walk

• Gardeners & Gatherers 30 April, 2pm to 5pm
• Movers & Shakers 26 March 2pm to 5pm.

To book contact Maldon Neighbourhood Centre on 5475 2093 or email info@maldonnc.org.au

Tips for connecting with your neighbour

• Drop off a connection card or calling card to your neighbour with your details
• Invite people to bring a dish of food from their home country and to share something about their culture
• Bake something to share with your neighbours and invite them for a cup of tea or coffee
• Have a meet and greet BBQ /picnic at your local park
• Start a neighbourhood group (such as a Neighbourhood Watch group)
• Organise a picnic and games afternoon at a nearby park or reserve
• Organise a clean-up, gardening or street working bee
• Start a neighbourhood library for things you are happy to lend or share with others in your street
• Start a neighbourhood newsletter or create a neighbourhood Facebook page for your street
• Organise a vegetable swap at your local neighbourhood/community centre, local park or school
• Invite neighbours to join or form a local walking group

Remember to check the current COVID restrictions by visiting https://www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au/coronavirus-covidsafe-summer

Neighbour Day in Mount Alexander Shire is funded by the Victorian Government’s COVID-19 Community Activation and Social Isolation (CASI) initiative.

Relationships Australia is the home of Neighbour Day.

Additional resources

Download a Connection Card or Calling card to drop into your neighbours
Download Colouring pages to get your children involved in Neighbour Day

For more ideas and resources on how to organise your Neighbour Day activity, please visit www.neighbourday.org

Are you feeling lonely or isolated, or know someone who might need help?

Help is just a phone call away thanks to a new support service designed to help people who are experiencing loneliness, or are socially disconnected due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

You can access social, emotional or practical support via the Community Activation and Social Isolation (CASI) initiative.

To access the service, call Victoria's Coronavirus Hotline, or contact our COVID-19 support service to speak to someone who can assist you here in the community.

We have received funding from the Victorian Government to deliver the program in the shire until December 2020, in partnership with the Australian Red Cross and the Department of Health and Human Services. We are also working with wonderful local network of organisations and volunteers who are keen to lend a hand and provide support to our community.

How to request help or support

Call Victoria’s Coronavirus Hotline on 1800 675 398 and choose option 6.

You will be connected to a volunteer from the Red Cross who is trained to talk to you about your needs, particularly if you are feeling anxious or distressed, or they can provide a friendly ear if you feel like you need someone to turn to.

They may also put you in touch with our community connector who can connect you with local organisations, groups, social activities or practical assistance. Our support officer will also follow up with you to make sure you’re getting the support you need.

Local support

If you would like to speak directly to someone here in the shire contact our COVID-19 support service and ask to speak to our community connector:

• Call us on the toll free number 1800 512 446 between 8.30am and 5.00pm (Monday to Friday)
• Email us at covid19@mountalexander.vic.gov.au, or
• Visit the online virtual emergency relief centre and fill out an online form.

You can also contact the Coronavirus Hotline to get advice on how to encourage others to seek support.

See an Easy English booklet version on how to access Coronavirus support for social connections below.

What type of help will I receive?

Some examples of the help or support we can organise includes:

Emotional support like a wellbeing check-in or a regular chat with a local over the phone.

Practical help such as running an errand, helping you use technology to stay in touch with family and friends, making on online application or ordering shopping over the internet, or we can

Link you to social and community activities such as online book clubs, fitness groups, craft groups, learning new skills or volunteering opportunities.

Who can seek help?

Support is available to community members that need support during the pandemic. This initiative is designed to support vulnerable members of the community.

This may include people who are:

  • Older and living alone
  • Carers
  • Living with a disability or chronic health condition
  • Social housing tenants
  • Single parents
  • From culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds
  • Recently arrived migrants or refugees
  • Aboriginal Victorians
  • Living within the LGBTIQ+ community, or
  • Experiencing financial hardship

Who else is involved?

Council is proud to be working with a passionate network of people who are helping to assess local needs, provide support and monitor this program in our community.

The Mount Alexander Local Support Network is made up of representatives from local neighbourhood houses, health, aboriginal and library services, as well as advocacy, multicultural services, charity, church, education, community and volunteering groups.

As a result of the CASI Local Support Network coming together, a coordinated approach to the Be Connected Program has been developed between Council, Castlemaine Community House, Maldon Neighbourhood Centre and the Castlemaine Library. The Be Connected Program runs digital inclusion and mentoring activities to support the community throughout the year.

Thank you to everyone involved.

CASI Projects

Council and the CASI Local Support Network are delivering a number of community projects over the next six months to build social connections in our community. The projects will offer a variety of cultural, artistic, social and wellbeing activities to address the impact of COVID-19 on the community.

Read the list of Community Activation and Social Isolation Projects 2020/2021.

Download the Community Activation and Social Isolation Projects 2020/2021 (54 kb, PDF).

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