Young people with high care needs will be empowered to navigate their way through the COVID-19 pandemic and stay socially connected, through a new virtual support network to be launched by Youngcare in July.
The initiative has been made possible thanks to a $20,000 COVID-19 Emergency Grant from Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland.
The unrestricted funding, which was awarded in early June, was initially intended to help set up a new phone service as a way for young people with high care needs to maintain social contact whilst in isolation. However, the initiative was repurposed to better meet the need of their clients who will continue to remain in isolation for some time even though restrictions are slowly easing.
Youngcare CEO Anthony Ryan said the new virtual support network which is currently not available or covered by the NDIS, will help to create a sense of community and reduce anxiety levels among those most vulnerable.
“Helping those in our community to live with choice and independence is of utmost importance to us, as is their mental health and wellbeing, so this modified initiative will help us to respond to their needs in a more meaningful way during these unprecedented times.
“Over the next six months we will deliver a series of fortnightly information sessions and monthly masterclasses through the new online platform, giving young people and their families, carers and disability health professionals a forum to share their experiences as well.
“A number of guest speakers are lined up to host the masterclasses based on their area of expertise like automation and smart technology, mental health, financial resilience and carer wellbeing to help build new skills and confidence within our community.”
Hand Heart Pocket Chief Executive Officer Gary Mark said the charity was focused on assisting its charity partners and working with Freemason Lodges to increase support at a grassroots level during the Coronavirus pandemic.
“So far, we have provided almost $750,000 in COVID-19 emergency support and Grassroots Community Grants to charities across Queensland during the pandemic,” said Gary.
“Youngcare has previously been a charity partner of ours, with Hand Heart Pocket having provided half-a-million-dollars’ worth of grants and helping more than 90 young people with high care needs to stay at home and out of inappropriate housing from 2016 to 2018.
“Youngcare provides an essential service, and we are glad we could step in and provide this extra support to help them to adapt at a time when their community needs them the most.”
For more information about Hand Heart Pocket visit www.handheartpocket.org.au