A Message From Our Executive Director – COVID-19 Update

April 17, 2020
Physical Distancing While Socially Connecting
To our local Lifeline supporters and community,
In these most unusual of times, I am reaching out to update you on Lifeline’s services in our region. 
As we talk to many people each day, we are hearing an increase in concern and anxiousness around Covid-19 or Corona Virus and we are glad that we are there to meet people at such times of distress and concern. 
We want to remind everyone that the Lifeline’s telephone crisis support service 13 11 14 is available 24/7 for anyone feeling overwhelmed during this period. 
We also offer Lifeline Text nightly, 6pm – midnight (AEDT) on 0477 13 11 14 and Crisis Chat 7pm – midnight at lifeline.org.au/crisischat
Please reach out and encourage your friends, family and community to ask for help if they are struggling, as now more than ever it is important that we all stay connected. 
What is Lifeline doing in your local community in response to Corona Virus?
Like every other organisation at this time, our local Lifeline team are reviewing our events and activities, and in doing so we are taking on the advice of health experts to guide us in our work. So, while we will continue to provide this support, both through our crisis support service, as well a range of other services here in our local community, we must make some changes. 
We have an incredible team of people who care for others and we have been working on ways that we can both look after each other and continue to connect with our local communities. After all, we know that there is no service without our team. With this we are doing what many other organisations are doing in allowing many of our team to work remotely where possible, and where not, we have put in place extra hygiene, health and wellbeing practices so that our team are provided with a safe work environment. 
We are also regularly checking in with each other too, as we know that while being physically isolated is one of the best ways to protect ourselves from the virus, staying socially connected is critical. This is one of the very reasons that Lifeline exists. 
What changes are Lifeline making to local services?
In order to look after the welfare of our team and people that we support, we made the disappointing, yet necessary, decision recently to put our community-based training programs into recess for the next little while. We have appreciated the very positive feedback received from participants and we will stay in touch and advise when our important community training will re-commence. 
What about our local Lifeline Shops?
As of Monday, we made the difficult decision to temporarily close our Retail shops across all regions. We expect that shops may remain closed for at least the next two months, and possibly beyond. It is difficult to predict how long this may continue, given the current environment we are operating in.This decision is significant and was not made without a lot of consideration.However, it has also been somewhat forced on us given the tightening of physical restriction requirements as well as the decline in both donations and sales. We are serious in our care for our team and our customers, so we feel comfort that in valuing our team, that this is the right decision to make. However, we also know that it has flow on effects for our team.
Thank you for your ongoing support
We thank you for your ongoing support of both our team and the work we do for others. As we say here at Lifeline, we are “in community, for community and with community”. 
To stay in touch with changes as they are made in these rapidly changing times you can follow us on Facebook or Instagram @Lifeline_direct. 
On behalf of all of our local team here at Lifeline, we hope that while we remain physically isolated, that we also share in social connection. 
Robert Sams 
Executive Director, Lifeline Direct