A group of pro-active Cootamundra residents lead by Peter Hogan has created a Facebook page titled Cootamundra United, reaching out to vulnerable community members during the Covid-19 crisis.
The Cootamundra United Facebook page is dedicated to keeping people up to speed on what is happening in Cootamundra due to the Covid-19 virus and creating a help my neighbour network.
"We are trying to create a network to help people prepare for and to have a contact point to ask for help or advice from members," Mr Hogan said.
The Facebook page already has over 400 members and is growing steadily.
"We are pre-empting a more severe and widespread lockdown within our community," he said.
"Our main objective at this stage is to initiate a program based on the Neighborhood Watch model used for many years as a crime prevention activity in many areas.
"Our model will be aimed at targeting those in our community that are most vulnerable, the elderly, people in town with no relatives, those that are new to town and anyone who is seen as high risk.
"If people are okay but just feel isolated or need a shoulder to lean on we are there to listen.
"If you would like to be a part of the solution and not the problem this is for you," Mr Hogan said.
The group can be found by typing in Cootamundra United on Facebook. When you go to the group page ask to be included as a member.
Mr Hogan can be contacted on 0439423713 or his email address firstname.lastname@example.org
After calling for volunteer coordinators Mr Hogan said he was very pleased to find that so far 14 people have volunteered for this task.
"Their roll is to distribute flyers to peoples letter boxes explaining how they can help and leaving their name and contact phone number," he said.
"If people feel the need to contact them they are welcomed warmly. The coordinator will keep names and phone numbers and follow up during this extended period of trouble."
Mr Hogan said the scheme is designed to be a backup to the current social services, networks and systems that are already in place by the State and Federal government.
"We can help people get to the correct services or information centres," particularly in light that many people still don't have internet access.
"Flyers have gone out to people's letterboxes and the rough map (above) shows the areas covered by coordinators and the yellow crosses show where they have been delivered.
"The coordinators have a Messenger network where we can discuss privately any questions or problems that are put to us and disseminate the advice after we as a group consider what the best course of action is.
"People should also be aware that the coordinators safety and procedural rules are as stated by government guidelines. Social distancing and no contact.
"We are not a bank or a taxi service .. but we can help you access these services if you have issues with these types of things," Mr Hogan said.
Cootamundra United has been receiving positive feedback included from a local widower who said he was really grateful for the flyer and opportunity to reach out for a chat.
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