Locals back Community Disability Alliance Hunter's 'Isolated Connection' program to support most vulnerable residents during coronavirus pandemic

STILL AVAILABLE: CDAH executive officer David Belcher at Toronto. Mr Belcher said the organisation's office was closed, but staff were still working to support local people with a disability during the coronavirus pandemic. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers
STILL AVAILABLE: CDAH executive officer David Belcher at Toronto. Mr Belcher said the organisation's office was closed, but staff were still working to support local people with a disability during the coronavirus pandemic. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Community Disability Alliance Hunter said it had been inundated with offers to help with food and supply deliveries to local people with disabilities who were feeling anxious about the coronovirus pandemic.

CDAH executive officer David Belcher said the organisation was coordinating a local community response to the challenge of supporting people with disability who were vulnerable to COVID-19 and self-isolating.

"Our community is isolated and at a high risk," Mr Belcher said.

"We want to support each other and be able to quickly identify who needs additional help during these uncertain times."

The project is called Isolated Connection.

It involves CDAH members contacting other members, checking in and seeing what everyone's needs are.

"But it doesn't stop there - people who have been contacted are asked to contact other people with disability in the community so the connection to the community is at a high," Mr Belcher said.

And the rest of the community was right on board, he said.

"The response from our community has been amazing. We have been flooded with offers and we are already coordinating food and supply deliveries and regular phone support to people who are feeling anxious and alone.

"These are difficult times and we must all pull together to make sure no one is left behind.

"We all have a role to play and can work together to support people who need it during this period. Our office [in Newcastle West] is closed, but we are still here making sure our community is keeping safe and connected."

CDAH is run for, and by, people with a disability with the support of their families and allies.

The CDAH online office is open Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 10am to 4pm. Details are on the website cdah.org.au

CDAH will host an online catch up on Thursday afternoon via Zoom.

Locals can access the CDAH online 'Catch Up Crew' at zoom.us/j/659945146 on Thursday, March 26, from 5.30pm to 7pm.

"The event is Auslan interpreted, and all are welcome," Mr Belcher said.

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