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What a year 2020 has been so far.
Firstly, I would like to thank everyone in our Churches of Christ in Queensland community. You have pulled together, shown unity and love for and with each other, and acted with the grace of God in your day-to-day work.
Thankfully, we are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel and a new sense of normal is emerging. While some things may never be the same again, some things, I hope, have changed for the better.
Our churches have adapted to bringing their services online. You will be able to read about how Gympie Church of Christ has embraced technology to engage with their community, just like our other churches across the state.
During this time of social distancing it’s been heart-warming to see our Children, Youth and Families team host virtual yarning circles. We had 49 of our staff across Queensland Zoom into these circles to discuss ways in which we can keep young people connected to their culture through this period of isolation. Thank you to all in facilitating this.
Our Housing Services team provided extra support for housing residents by sourcing food and essential items, particularly for those impacted by the virus shut-down, and attended to their emotional wellbeing during this time.
I have been humbled by the stories coming out of many of our services, particularly our residential aged care services which were greatly impacted by restrictions. The teams developed creative ways to keep residents connected, engaged and active when visitors were limited. We released iPads to our residential aged care services to be used by residents to connect digitally with their loved ones.
Meanwhile, our Home and Community Care staff have conducted in excess of 17,000 welfare calls to vulnerable Queenslanders confirming they are safe and well. Through these calls our staff find out if they require support with groceries or medical items, provide them with the latest official COVID-19 information and important contact numbers to call in case of an emergency.
I was delighted to hear of one case where our staff member conducted a welfare call with an older lady in the community and they ended up chatting on the phone for hours. The client then called through to check it was really Churches of Christ in Queensland she had been talking to, as the call had made her week and she was in disbeliefe that we had spent the time talking to her about her life.
Our Retirement Living team have also been doing a great job at keeping their residents up-to-date on the latest COVID-19 information and responding to the latest directives from the government to keep their villages safe.
To thank our aged care staff for their tireless work during this unprecedented time, and to recognise them for the work they do every day, we launched the #Thanksforcaring campaign. This campaign has now been picked by Leading Aged Services Australia and is being promoted across the nation to thank aged care staff for the work they do. I encourage you all to leave a message of thanks at www.thanksforcaring.com.au.
While some of our work and the way we do things was interrupted over the past months, our development projects have powered ahead and been delivered on time, and even ahead of tome. We are delighted to welcome residents to our new Lady Small Haven Retirement Living development on the Gold Coast and we will shortly residents into the new development at Fassifern Aged Care Service in Boonah. These developments have been completed on time or ahead of schedule.
Residents also moved into their new homes at our latest housing development for seniors at Hillcrest, collocated with our Clive Burdeu Aged Care Service. Our other housing development at our campus on Bribie Island is also well underway.
We are implementing our recovery plan across the organisation to guide our way forward in a post-pandemic world, with the safety and wellbeing of everyone in our community the main priority. We will continue to follow the latest government advice and directives as the COVID-19 situation continues to progress. Thank you everyone for your patience and diligence during this time. We are thankful that the virus has not spread in our organisation.
We pray for all those who have passed away from the virus in Australia, particularly the vulnerable seniors in aged care services. We pray for those around the world who have been so deeply impacted by COVID-19, those in developing nations without the health infrastructure and those whose livelihoods and way of life have been affected. May we all continue to come together to beat this pandemic.
God knows the concerns on our hearts and He can provide and the peace, strength and courage we need. Remember to keep praying, keep caring and working together to bring the light of Christ into our communities.
We are now implementing our recovery plans and working inside the directives laid out by our State governments regarding easing of restrictions. I am sure you are all as excited as I am to be able to get out once more and enjoy the simple things such as attending church, dining with family and friends and taking weekends away. Our diligence in remaining in isolation and stopping the spread has paid off and we will get to enjoy these things once again, much sooner than I am sure many of us expected.
I am sincerely looking forward to the rest of 2020. With restrictions easing, I cannot wait to get out to services and churches once more, I have truly missed travelling out to communities and meeting with you all.
Chief Executive Officer