Our members, volunteers and employees remain committed to assisting people throughout these tough times, however we must be aware that at various times we will also have fewer resources to provide assistance.
We are making changes with the aim of keeping our own people safe, as well as ensuring that we can continue our mission of assisting people in the community. Therefore, during this period, any employee may be asked to cover these essential services in place of their substantive role.
Our priority, always, is caring for our companions. As such our focus is on direct assistance, with a key element being to ensure adequate food supply to our vulnerable community members. At a time of enforced self-isolation required by the response to COVID-19, the Society’s model of care can continue to meet those needs. But we need to be smart about how we do this so that both the community and our members are safe.
While we aim to continue with our existing work as best as possible, we may be reducing to core services. While this may mean some service amendments, particularly in relation to face-to-face contact, it does not mean service restrictions but rather that we adjust our service. Our companions should still be able to receive the assistance they require, though we are transitioning to case management over the phone.
Many of our members are aged over 60 and most companions are living with existing health issues. Both groups are at higher risk of serious consequences should they become infected.
Therefore, home based direct visits and conference interviews will cease until further notice. Visits and interviews will now occur at the discretion of the Conference Presidents and must take place by:
a. telephone or web-based based care and support; or
b. on the premises of a St Vincent de Paul Society facility – a shop, office or other service site.
Conferences continuing face to face interaction will introduce the following procedures:
All visitors to use the sanitiser on entering the building
The rooms to be disinfected prior and after use
Move to an appointment system to minimise the number of people congregating in the waiting room. This may require new signage to instruct companions.
Visitation or volunteering on Vinnies vans will continue until the relevant government authority suspends such activity due to the pandemic, and appropriate practices must be followed.
If at any time the Federal, State or Local Government Authority excludes the Society from providing visitation through attendance at a Vinnies shop or at another facility, we are still able to provide some assistance through telephone and web-based assessments.
Conferences can conduct interviews for food and other assistance including bills over mobile phone. Assistance can be provided by food and fuel vouchers that can be left in their letterbox. Food parcels can be left on the companion’s doorstep with a phone call to the companion to advise them it’s been dropped.
All conference and council meetings are being conducted by telephone or other use of technology.
We will continue to monitor the impact of these changes on companions and respond as best we can.