Closed to the public doesn’t mean closed. At Clunes Neighbourhood House we’ve discovered that restrictions don’t mean inactivity. They just mean doing things differently. What does that look like at our house?
70 Bailey Street, Clunes
Weekly communication and team meetings on Zoom. In fact we’ve discovered some fun tricks that we’re going to share next week for other regular Zoom-goers!
An expanded volunteer team. Yes, while our doors might be shut, demand has increased. On our team we’ve added a social work student on placement and an IT wiz. Both these roles are helping us explore the digital literacy issues that are very real in our community – particularly for older people – as well as what supports people need, and how they are accessing them.
We are on the phone a lot. Clunes is very connected. We, like many other groups or stakeholders in Clunes, are making the most of these connections to stay in touch. We talk regularly to groups from CTDA to PROBUS. We collaborate with the Primary School linking to families with youngsters learning at home.
We meet with others who can help Clunes. We update weekly via email and formal Zoom meetings with emergency services, council and other networks in the shire and beyond. In these meetings we help explore initiatives that have led to direct outcomes in Clunes or helped remove barriers to accessing support.
How can you help? The town is already helping each other in lots of great ways, but there are a few neighbourly things you can do that might mean a world of difference:
If you have a neighbour who might not be on social media – keep them in the loop; especially about flu vaccines or what they can get delivered at home or takeaway. It’s ok to help people book into flu clinics or write out the pub takeaway menu and phone number for them. We do!
If you have a neighbour who might need their dog walked – offer once a week.
Share a book (or if they have kids – a board game) over the fence.
If you have a neighbour who might be going through a hard time – listen and let them know its ok to get support. Google a few hotlines while you are with them to show them how to find help or check out our website.
These are timely ideas because yesterday Neighbourhood House Week (8th – 15th May) began across the country. But in reality being neighbourly is probably just something we’ve always done on any ordinary day in Clunes.
AUTHOR: Lana de Kort