Bundaberg YMCA chief executive Greg McMahon and Burnett State MP Stephen Bennett are prepared to support the community through the volunteer Care Army. The issue is complex and goes far beyond food care packages, Mr Bennett said. Picture: Chris Burns.
Bundaberg YMCA chief executive Greg McMahon and Burnett State MP Stephen Bennett are prepared to support the community through the volunteer Care Army. The issue is complex and goes far beyond food care packages, Mr Bennett said. Picture: Chris Burns.

Bundy services mobilise for Care Army

BUNDABERG service groups have started to mobilise in the statewide volunteer Care Army, aimed to support seniors during the coronavirus pandemic.

The YMCA and the Rotary Club of Bundaberg Sunrise have signed up to offer assistance.

Bundaberg YMCA youth services co-ordinator Tricia Cross said youth, and domestic violence victims would also be vulnerable in Bundaberg during the self-isolation period, and she expected an increased number of referrals.

“There are going to be so many social issues that will emerge that people haven’t thought yet,” she said.

“There’s also something that will escalate, and that is elder abuse, because the elders are going to be extremely vulnerable.”

Bundaberg YMCA’s chief executive Greg McMahon said volunteering in the Care Army will be a benefit to youth who could use their spare time constructively. .

“What we’re saying is at the moment they can’t go to school, they can’t go to footy, you name it because of social distancing,” he said.

“This is a productive community activity where people could help their neighbour,” he said.

“It’s about how we activate people in a productive way during this crisis because people are at a loss.”

Burnett MP Stephen Bennett said preparing for the Care Army needed to happen as soon as possible, in anticipation of increased social problems.

“Locally, we want to make sure we’re on top of it and making sure it’s efficient and it’s not going to be a bureaucracy and lose control.

“It’s going to increase over a period of time, and it’s going to touch every layer of our community,” he said.

“It’s not just about picking up a bag of spuds for Mrs Smith, it’s more intense, and there’s going to be a lot more layers our community has got to get behind.”

Rotary Club of Bundaberg Sunrise president Peter Doohan said the service group has registered.

“In this current health emergency we will play our part in assisting those older residences of Bundaberg that may not have families close by that are able to provide help,” he said.

“We will work with others in the community to identify the vulnerable and provide volunteers to assist where possible.”

To register for the Care Army, go to https://www.qld.gov.au/community/support-for-carers/care-army or call 1800 173 349.

Background checks will be conducted.



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