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Queensland Government media release

The Palaszczuk Government has made more than 100,000 outbound phone calls to seniors across the state to find out how they are going and ask if the Care Army can help during the COVID 19 pandemic.

Minister for Seniors Coralee O'Rourke said the Palaszczuk Government had prioritized efforts to support older people to ensure they had access to food, medication and connections with their communities.

“I’m delighted that around 98 percent of the older Queenslanders contacted said they were receiving the support they needed to stay home and stay safe from family, friends and neighbours,” Mrs O’Rourke said.

“For the seniors who did need help, the Care Army has been there to give them a helping hand.

“We’ve been overwhelmed with the response to our call out for the Care Army – with more than 28,500 dedicated Queenslanders signing up to support our seniors.

“Since the Community Recovery Hotline was activated to connect people with the Care Army, around 12,000 people have called in, and more than 2,500 have been helped or assisted.

“As we are currently celebrating National Volunteer Week, I would like to extend my thanks to every one of these Care Army volunteers who are all helping in a variety of different ways, and of course, to the 714,000 volunteers across Queensland.”

Mrs O’Rourke said Volunteering Queensland was doing an outstanding job coordinating Care Army registrations and linking volunteers to organisations in need in their local area.

“Members of the Care Army have been assisting with a range of tasks, including delivering food and supplies, stocking shelves and calling isolated Queenslanders who are in need of social connections,” she said.

“We have also asked local governments to get on board and we have contacted over 2000 non-government organisations (NGOs) across Queensland to register their need for additional volunteers.

“In some communities, the Palaszczuk Government has worked with lead NGOs to extend the reach of the Care Army.

“This includes Townsville-based community organisation Youth with a Mission (YWAM) in my own community.

“I was delighted to see first-hand the role Youth with a Mission are playing in rolling out the Care Army in Townsville during a recent visit.”

Mrs O’Rourke said the Care Army had done an outstanding job across the state and made the lives of many older Queenslanders much brighter during a challenging time.

“This includes Teal, a young lady in her 20s who joined the Care Army with her mother,” she said.

“Teal has been helping seniors with shopping, picking up prescriptions and helping them reconnect with family and friends online, and is a wonderful demonstration of the caring and thoughtfulness that embodies the Care Army.”

“With social distancing requirements easing and consistently low numbers of new cases in the state, the latest advice from the Chief Health Officer is that seniors can begin to carefully and safely leave their homes,” Mrs O’Rourke said.

“The majority of students will be back in their classrooms next week and more business are opening each day, and this will likely impact on the availability of our volunteers.

“Seniors will always have support, and the services and networks that existed before COVID-19 are now increasingly able to provide this support.

“The extra help Care Army volunteers have provided has been so appreciated by NGOs and seniors alike – and as our lives start to return to normal, we should be so proud of what the Care Army has achieved.

“It’s also important to remember that we are all already part of a Care Army – all of us can continue to reach out to elderly loved ones, friends or neighbours to check that they are ok and have everything they need.”

Queensland seniors who don’t have an existing support network can continue to contact the Community Recovery Hotline on 1800 173 349.

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