FUNDING: CQ Healthcare workers are set to receive $96M in state funding as they prepare for a potential outbreak.
FUNDING: CQ Healthcare workers are set to receive $96M in state funding as they prepare for a potential outbreak.

People power shines through pandemic

Coronavirus has brought out some ugliness in some people, such as hoarding, but amid the fear and panic, others are doing good and helping those most vulnerable.

Communities and businesses are finding ways both new and old to help their neighbours, friends and relatives while self-isolating.

Several apps have been created to assist those most in need, and who may not have the same access to care or essential supplies as they usually would.

The CareMonger app launching on Wednesday allows people within 10km of each other to request help or let others know what they are offering for free.

Users can also send messages to people nearby if they just want to have a chat.

It also provides a way for businesses to connect with locals and provide those experiencing financial pressure or healthcare staff working long shifts with information about food, goods or services they can provide.

A similar app, Nextdoor, is designed to bring neighbourhoods together and provide a way for people to post jobs, safety tips or event information within the community.

It is now becoming a way for neighbours to check on each other and provide help during self-isolation.

Members have offered to drop off toilet paper, sanitary products and food to those in need, with some simply offering some virtual company.

The Mobility app launched on Monday provides a way for families of those who need care to browse, book, and pay for qualified care workers to take care of a loved one who may be far away.

The app is being used by a National Disability Insurance Scheme platform, matching participants with carers using a government-funded package or credit card.

Despite the bulk of the country being forced to self-isolate, help is not limited to the digital space.

Older Australians are at greater risk of developing mental health issues due to fear of the disease, limited social activities and potentially going weeks without seeing family or friends.

That's something Sydney aged and disability care provider Your Side is trying to prevent.

Most of the people the organisation takes care of aren't digitally savvy and need help remaining connected to the outside world while they're unable to leave home, so they are pulling together a network of pen-pals to keep the elderly company from the comfort of their homes.

Stood down from his job as an airline sales executive, Brendon Shelton has teamed up with Sydney friend and tech entrepreneur Nick Benson to start Rescue Brand which a spokesperson says is supplying tens of thousands of litres of hand sanitiser and 5000 protective masks within the first week of trade.

Joined by four other friends, they're working with local councils and essential services who need sanitiser and masks, and have launched a consumer website so the public can buy "the necessities at pre-surge prices".

In Victoria, hundreds of people are being fed a meal daily from the kitchens at Parliament House.

The food is being handed out to those most in need through community programs run by charities including The Salvation Army, The Lazarus Centre, St Peter's Eastern Hill Anglican Church, the Father Bob Maguire Foundation and Melbourne City Mission.

- Carly Waters, Tiffanie Turnbull and Christine McGinn, AAP



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