Vinnies adapts services to respond to the COVID-19 lockdown

Following the recent COVID-19 outbreak in the ACT, the St Vincent de Paul Society has adapted its operations to assist vulnerable members of the community experiencing distress and hardship.

“To enable Vinnies to continue its vital work in the community, we have swiftly adapted the way we operate our programs and services in the region to ensure the health and safety of our employees, volunteers and people in need is first and foremost.” said Barnie van Wyk, CEO of the St Vincent de Paul Society Canberra/Goulburn.

In compliance with ACT and NSW Government public health directives, all Vinnies shops in the Canberra/Goulburn region have been closed for trading during the lockdown. The public has been asked to hold on to donations until the lockdown ends. Vinnies have also requested that bags of donated goods not be left outside their shops.

“We are grateful for the offers of food and other in-kind donations over the past few days and are appreciative of the community’s understanding and patience as we navigate these complex circumstances,” said Mr van Wyk.

Vinnies’ essential services such as Street to Home, Samaritan House and Night Patrol will continue to provide assistance with modified safety measures in place. Additionally, Blue Door will keep offering take away options for Ainslie Village’ residents.

For the Street to Home program, Outreach and Case Managers continue to provide support to our community in accordance with ACT Health guidelines. While some face-to-face and transport options may be limited, Vinnies’ teams are committed to making every reasonable effort to support rough sleepers across the ACT.

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To continue to support the youngest members of our community, all Vinnies Youth and Young Adults programs have cancelled face to face activities and are operating via online platforms.

“Our Mission has always been to offer a hand up to any person in our community that seeks help. While the method in which we do this has changed slightly, Vinnies will still be here to listen, care and support everyone through these tough times,” said John Feint, President of the St Vincent de Paul Society Canberra/Goulburn.

“If any members of the community are experiencing hardship whether physical or emotional, we encourage them to contact our Helpline on 13 18 12,” said Mr Feint.

In addition to Vinnies’ assistance, the ACT Government has partnered with VolunteeringACT and the ACT Emergency Services Agency (ESA) to provide emergency food relief for Canberrans most in need during this lockdown.

  • To place an order for emergency food relief and/or essential items call: VolunteeringACT on 1800 43 11 33 between 9 am and 5 pm each day of the lockdown. If the phone goes un-answered, please leave a message and someone will return your call.
  • The Vinnies Helpline (13 18 12) remains open and all calls for assistance are directed to available volunteers in the region.




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