CONNECTING people to enrich lives has long been the mission statement of Community Services #1, and its CEO Amanda Tobler says now they’re stepping into this purpose more than ever.
“We’ve had to work out how to continue to enrich lives in this absolute upheaval,” she says.
“It’s interesting how the barriers to trying new ideas have been removed.
“We’re open to trying anything we can to get the outcome we want for our clients. These are circumstances we have never experienced before and things are changing fast.”
Community Services #1 is a community-based, profit-for-purpose organisation that has been providing a range of services for more than 30 years, says Amanda.
From its food pantry, to providing individual and family support, aged-care services, social support groups, special-care transport and its five early childhood centres, Amanda says they are having to adapt in many different ways.
“We’ve redeployed staff to primary school hubs, we’re supporting kids with the transition back to school and we’ve started our Facebook ‘Kindness Matters’ project,” she says.
“There’s confusion for the whole community, but we’re here and still engaged, and will be for as long as we can be.”
Amanda, 45, says she’s determined to continue supporting the vulnerable, particularly the elderly who often have no other support.
“My concern is for people’s mental health, as in a long-term lockdown there’s a risk of heightened anxiety. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.”
Amanda, who’s married and lives in the inner south, is a born and bred Canberran, and says that supporting the community is what she feels she was meant to do.
“It’s like my extended family, and we support people through their life cycle, for many years. As an agency, we’re the ones people will need to rely on for the months ahead,” she says.
“With social groups we can check in virtually, and we can support the elderly by picking up groceries or medication and dropping them off at home. The food pantry can be utilised through calling up to see what we have, and we can deliver to your home.”
She says she’s proud that CS#1 hasn’t had to stand down or retrench any staff, and has been able to provide meaningful work throughout this time.
“I’m optimistic, humans are resilient and I never cease to be amazed by the resilience of our communities.
“How we pull together now is incredibly important.”
Community Services updates at communityservices1.org/covid