As we remain in Stage 4 lockdown, navigating ongoing Covid19 restrictions, we are certainly grateful for our brief return to Cire Community Hubs in June.
Our brief time back in the Hubs was boosted by our added confidence, knowing how well we adapt to ensure our team is available for our community whatever the challenges. We know our services and support are an important part of community life, and the past eight months have highlighted how critical it is for all to feel and be connected.
When the Hubs closed in March, we knew that we would have to be innovative to find ways to help people still feel connected. Initially, we simply used email and phone – the ‘new world’ of isolation was going to bring new challenges for a lot of us, and we wanted to establish points of contact with as many people as possible.
As we settled into operating remotely, we supported groups to transfer to online platforms such as our Craft group transitioning to Zoom. We also introduced our ‘Lockdown Lego’ group in April, to provide a constructive space for families to connect with each other.
When restrictions began to ease at the end of May, our team held a collective breath waiting for news of CommunityHouses reopening. With each announcement came more optimism that Term 3 may see us back in the Hub doing what we love. Community Houses were permitted to open from June 1, and once again, we found ourselves pivoting to accommodate this change of plans. Distancing rules of 4m2 per person and keeping 1.5m apart meant that we had to revise our room hire options, looking at floorplans and layouts to maximise our options. We worked with facilitators and participants to support them to safely return to the Hub as soon as possible. Highlights include having the Fit 4 Life group excitedly return for their face-to-face sessions and hosting the first week of holiday activities, giving children a chance to have fun with their peers.
During our brief return to the Hub, we also saw an increase in ‘drop-ins’, with locals coming in to check out what we do. It was great to see some new faces, and we look forward to welcoming everyone again when we can. Once restrictions begin to ease back, we will be working to encourage people to consider participating in our in-Hub activities. We proudly offer a safe place where everyone is welcome, and we know that people will need this, more than ever before.
This year has brought challenges for many. It has also given us opportunities to learn new skills and revaluate what we want the ‘new normal’ to look like for ourselves, our families and our community. We can’t wait to return to the Hubs (again!). We’ve done it before, and we know we can do it again. We will continue to be there for you, remotely and in-person, doing whatever we can to support you during this period and into a positive future with so much to look forward to.
Naomi Taylor, Cire Chirnside Park Community Hub Coordinator