Involved COVID-19 eNews - 10 September 2021
Involved eNews - 10 September 2021
Hello and welcome to INVOLVED eNews
The ACT Government is offering more dedicated COVID-19 vaccination and testing for people with disability.
Following the transition of the mass vaccination from Garran to the AIS Arena, the Access and Sensory Clinic is now moving to a dedicated space at the Weston Creek Community Health Centre. This will also enable it to expand from operating two days a week to five days a week from Monday 13 September.
The Garran Surge Centre will include a dedicated Access and Sensory testing service for people with disability, as well as walk-in testing for the general public.
Minister for Disability and Mental Health Emma Davidson said support staff, volunteers or carers accompanying a person with disability to their appointment at the Weston Creek Community Health Centre, can receive a vaccination at the same time as the person with disability.
“The Access and Sensory vaccination clinic offers a quieter space, longer appointment times, a separate accessible entry point for wheelchairs and other mobility equipment,” Minister Davidson said.
“People with mental health conditions are also encouraged to book appointments at the Access and Sensory clinic. You do not need to provide proof of your mental health condition, making the process more accommodating for anyone who may not want to disclose this information.”
Minister Davidson also announced that the next round of Respite Effect and Recovery Grants opened today, Friday 10 September.
These grants are an initiative under the ACT COVID-19 Disability Strategy to better support the wellbeing, resilience, and recovery of people with disability, their families and carers. You can apply for a Grant of up to $250 to assist to relieve some of the pressures experienced in your home environments whilst in lockdown. Please find further details, including how to apply below.
COVID-19 Vaccination – new content
People with disability, support staff, volunteers and carers are eligible to get the COVID-19 vaccine right now.
Getting vaccinated against COVID-19 is a safe and effective way to protect you from becoming very sick if you catch COVID-19.
Access and Sensory Vaccination Clinic - Relocating to Weston Creek
On Monday 13 September the Access and Sensory Vaccination Clinic is relocating from the Garran Surge Centre to a dedicated space at the Weston Creek Community Health Centre.
The Access and Sensory Vaccination Clinic is for anyone who would benefit from a quieter environment, additional space, longer appointment time, or those requiring carer assistance, including people with disability, people with mobility limitations and people with mental health conditions.
Support staff, volunteers or carers accompanying a person with disability to their appointment at the Access and Sensory Clinic, can receive a vaccination at the same time as the person with disability.
The move to the Weston Creek Community Health Centre will enable the vaccination service to expand from two days a week to five days a week, meaning additional appointments are now available for bookings on a Monday to Friday from 8.00am to 3.30pm.
To make a vaccination appointment at the Access and Sensory Clinic, call the ACT COVID-19 vaccination booking line on 5124 7700 (select option 3) between 7am to 7pm, daily.
It’s entirely optional to use the Access and Sensory Clinic and you may wish to make an appointment at a GP or at another ACT Government COVID-19 vaccination clinic to get your COVID-19 vaccination. All ACT Government COVID-19 mass vaccination clinics have disability parking areas and accessible ramps.
Information about COVID-19 vaccinations in the ACT is available on the Information for people with disability page on the COVID-19 website.
In-home (in-reach) COVID-19 Vaccination
If a person with disability feels they may need to be vaccinated in their home because they have significant barriers to accessing other vaccination options, they can contact the ACT vaccination booking line on 02 5124 7700 (choose option 3 for the dedicated disability line).
They will be able to speak to someone who will take their information and then someone from the COVID-19 Vaccination Program team will contact them and coordinate vaccination in your home. This information is available on the Advice for People with Disability page of the COVID-19 website.
Priority COVID-19 vaccinations for all disability care workers
The ACT Government is continuing to offer priority COVID-19 vaccinations for all health, aged and disability care workers. This includes, but is not limited to, clinical and non-clinical workers of hospitals, health, age and disability care facilities.
Bookings can be made by calling the ACT COVID-19 vaccine booking line on 5124 7700 (7am to 7pm, daily). Identify yourself as an aged, disability or health care worker. You’ll need to answer a few questions to confirm your employment.
If you already have a booking that’s more than 10 days away, you can reschedule your appointment for a date and time within the next 3 days.
If you need the help of a translator, call the translating and interpreting service (TIS) on 131 450 and ask to be connected to the ACT COVID-19 vaccine booking line.
Find more information on the ACT COVID-19 vaccination web page.
Changes to COVID-19 Testing Sites - new content
You should get tested if you have been notified by ACT Health, if you are a close or casual contact or you have even the most mildest of COVID-19 symptoms.
ACT Health is ensuring safe, efficient and equitable access to COVID-19 testing for all Canberrans and has established a new dedicated Access and Sensory testing site at the Garran Surge Centre for people with disability, children and young people with sensory or additional needs, and those who need additional support to undertake a test. Daily hours are 7.30am – 9.00pm.
The Garran Surge Centre also now provides a walk-in testing service for the general public, as the Weston Creek Community Centre has now ceased to be a COVID-19 walk-in testing site.
If you have difficulty accessing a testing site, please call the COVID-19 Helpline. The Helpline operates on 02 6207 7244 between 8am and 8pm daily.
Information about the location of testing sites can be found on the Where to get tested page on the COVID-19 website.
In-home (in-reach) COVID-19 Testing
In addition, people with disability who are unable to attend a testing site can call ACT Health on
5124 6500. ACT Health will talk to the person about their needs and COVID-19 contact status and assess whether they are suitable for in-reach testing. The request is passed on to a team who will schedule the in-reach testing. Depending on demand for this service, a request may not guarantee a test.
Respite Effect and Recovery Grants Open Now – new content
The ACT Government has made $40,000 available to support people with disability, their families, and carers under the ACT COVID-19 Disability Strategy. The Respite and Recovery Grants will support the wellbeing, resilience, and recovery of people with disability across the ACT community.
The Grants will help relieve some of the challenges people are facing during the ACT lockdown – offering supports such as meals, respite, cleaning and funding for bills, hobbies, or recreational activities, to a maximum value of $250. Seeking to reach as many people as possible, those who received funds in the previous round of the Grants, will not be eligible to apply this time.
Applications open today, Friday 10 September 2021, for three weeks, or when the grant funding is exhausted, whichever comes first. Applications will be processed on a first in, first served basis.
Application form and guidelines are available on the Community Services Directorate website.
Essential PPE information
The latest essential PPE information for ACT Disability Support providers and their workers can be found in this webinar facilitated by National Disability Services: Correct PPE Usage in a COVID Environment Video
- information on PPE requirements from ACT Health
- a live demonstration of donning and doffing PPE
- the correct fitting and fit-testing of the P95 Mask
- an interactive question and answer session
National Disability Services advise it is recommended viewing for all ACT organisations and their support workers.
WWDACT Video - Importance of Getting Vaccinated
Women with Disabilities ACT (WWDACT) and ACT Health have created a video talking about the importance of getting vaccinated which is available on the WWDACT facebook page.
No smartphone to check in? No problem!
A new Check In CBR card is being introduced for those people who don’t own a smartphone or are unable to download or use the Check In CBR app.
The card contains a unique QR code which can be scanned at all businesses and venues across the ACT that currently accept the Check In CBR app.
Checking in will be faster, easier and with private as there is no need for venue staff to manually enter a customer’s details.
For more information on the Check In CBR card, visit the ACT Government COVID-19 website.
ACT Official Visitors for Disability Services - lockdown update
The role of Official Visitors for Disability Services is to provide independent oversight of services for people with disability who are receiving daily living supports, hear their concerns and help resolve any complaints. The three Official Visitors for Disability Services are Mary Durkin, Rob Woolley and Tracey Gullo. Official Visitors are appointed by the Minister for Human Rights.
While we are not conducting face-to-face visits during this lockdown, we are still able to hear and help resolve complaints and issues. We are still working to support people with disability, and we can liaise with service provider management and refer to other relevant bodies during lockdown. An Easy Read version of the roles of Official Visitors is available on the Public Trustee and Guardian website.
Any person can contact an Official Visitor to highlight or raise a concern about services, and we then liaise with relevant people to investigate further. This can include the person with disability, workers, family members, guardians, advocates or other supports in a person's life.
There are a number of ways to contact Official Visitors for Disability Services:
- ring 1800 150 036 and following the prompts (the call will be redirected to one of the Official Visitors for Disability Services). This number can also be used with the National Relay Service.
- fill out the online form which can be found on the Public Trustee and Guardian website.
- email email@example.com
Support provided by advocacy organisations – new content
Both Advocacy for Inclusion and ACT Disability Aged and Carer Advocacy Service (ADACAS) continue to provide individual advocacy for people who need assistance.
Advocacy for Inclusion can assist you by providing short term individual advocacy support.
Phone 6257 4005 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
ADACAS is also able to offer Supported Decision Making to people who may need some additional assistance in regard to consent for vaccination plus support for people in SIL or other accommodation. Please email email@example.com or call 6242 5060.
Resources and supports for families and students with disability
Information and resources are available to support families and students with disability in ACT public schools. Parents and carers are encouraged to keep in contact with their child’s school.
- Support is available for children and young people with disability during remote learning.
- Parents and carers can contact their child’s school with specific needs or queries.
- Please don’t wait to be contacted – if you need help get in contact with your child’s school straight away.
- If you need ICT support, make contact with the school they can help or organise equipment you may need at home.
- We don’t expect you and your child to engage in the education program all day – both you and your child will benefit from regular breaks.
- Don’t try and do it all yourself. Reach out to friends, family, other parents in your child’s class and your child’s teacher.
- Look after yourself. The Raising Children Network has some useful resources to help everyone in the family during COVID-19 lockdown and remote learning
- Keep connected with the school and Education Directorate on social media for information and updates.
NDIS COVID-19 Update for the ACT - Resource Pack and NDIS advice/links
The National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) advise they are committed to keeping you up-to-date on available National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) COVID-19 support for NDIS participants and providers:
Latest advice from NDIS – contains the most recent advice and information from the NDIA about COVID-19 response measures.
Information for participants – outlines how the NDIA is supporting participants during the pandemic, including information about plans and plan reviews, temporary supports available and other resources.
Minister for the NDIS, Senator the Hon Linda Reynolds CSC, announced an expansion of financial payments available to providers supporting NDIS participants to attend COVID-19 vaccination appointments: More support for people with disability and COVID-19 vaccinations | NDIS
Information for providers – outlines how the NDIA is assisting providers during the pandemic, including information about the workforce response service, personal protective equipment and provider obligations.
Information packs – we have collated information on key topics and for different situations to support NDIS participants and their families.
NDIS office operations – the latest information about NDIA office closures in your region.
Partner office operations – the latest information about partner office closures for local area coordinators and early childhood coordinators in your region.
Previous NDIS COVID-19 information sessions for Providers:
ACT COVID-19 disability workforce register
To assist the disability sector to continue to deliver quality supports to those who need it, National Disability Services (NDS) has been funded by the ACT Office for Disability to deliver a service that will link community organisations that have excess workforce with organisations that are having workforce shortages.
The NDS’s matching service will assist organisations who might otherwise have to stand staff down and support any organisations who are experiencing staff shortages.
Any organisation with excess staff with disability support experience or transferrable skills or staff shortages should be encouraged to provide a contact name and details to firstname.lastname@example.org
The NDS COVID-19 Administration Officer will then contact each organisation and facilitate the sharing of support staff.
Transport options for people with disability during lockdown
There are a range of community transport options to assist people with disability to attend medical appointments, including vaccination appointments, and to go grocery shopping:
Transport through Regional Community Service Organisations
The five Regional Community Service Organisations who provide community transport services are:
Communities@Work - 6293 6500
Capital Region Community Service (Belconnen Community Service) - 6278 8124
Northside Community Services - 6257 2255
Woden Community Services - 6181 2828
Community Services#1 - 6126 4700
Community Assistance and Support Program
The Community Assistance and Support Program (CASP) provides community care supports for people under 65 years with a health condition and their carers. Below is a list of eight providers who provide community transport for people who are eligible for CASP to attend medical appointments, including vaccination appointments:
Anglicare - 6278 8480
Belconnen Community Service - 6278 8124
Communities@Work - 6293 6500
Community Services #1 - 6126 4700
Life Without Barriers - 1800 935 483
Mercy Health ACT - 6228 9600
Northside Community Service - 6257 2255
Woden Community Service - 6181 2828
Taxi Subsidy Scheme
The ACT Taxi Subsidy Scheme (TSS), administered by ACT Revenue Office, provides financial assistance to ACT residents with disability or significant mobility restriction preventing them from using public and community transport.
The TSS is intended to assist members attend essential activities. The annual allocation of trips is 126 trips per year. The scheme provides a contribution to the overall cost of the trip. Additional trips can be requested if required, by phoning the ACT Revenues Office on 6207 0028 (Select Option 5, Sub Option 1 - Taxi Subsidy Scheme).
Transport options for NDIS Participants
NDIS participants may use their transport funding to attend vaccination appointments.
NDIS participants living in a residential setting of two or more people with disability can be vaccinated at their residence by a vaccination provider, arranged by the Department of Health.
Supported Independent Living (SIL) providers are being supported by the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) to facilitate COVID-19 vaccinations for their clients, including provision of transport to and from a vaccination clinic, through a fixed price $150 payment.
Grocery and Medicine Delivery Options
Home Medicine Service
The Home Medicines Service is available from participating pharmacies across Australia. Contact the pharmacy you usually visit to find out more.
Find out more about home medicines service on the Australian Government Department of Health website.
Some community service organisations also do pharmacy delivery. Ask the community organisations you usually visit for assistance.
We understand some households are unable to get groceries delivered in a timely manner due to demand.
If you are not in quarantine or isolation, and can go to a supermarket to shop, you can do so under the lockdown rules. Try to shop in your local region, and get in and out as quickly as possible.
If you are shopping for a family member or friend, please ensure you drop the groceries off without coming into contact with them.
If you need to order home delivery, there is a range of options to consider through other grocers and independent supermarkets as well as the major supermarkets listed on the Access Help page on the COVID-19 website.
Woolworths grocery delivery for vulnerable customers
To ensure vulnerable customers in the community have access to delivery services at this time, Woolworths will be providing a Priority Assistance service with dedicated delivery windows.
Eligible customers include people with disability, seniors and those with compromised immunity or who are required to self-isolate.
Woolworths also provide Priority Assistance services to vulnerable business customers which include aged care facilities, childcare centres, disability services, community housing, some charities, and prisons.
Register with Woolworths for Priority Assistance and be sure to include any supporting information to assist Woolworths in assessing your request. If you accessed the Priority Assistance service during 2020, you should be able to see ‘preferred’ delivery windows when shopping online with Woolworths via a mobile or desktop device. Priority Assist windows are not unlimited, so there may be times where customers will not find a preferred window.
Emergency Food Relief
If you are experiencing hardship and cannot afford to feed your family or yourself during the lockdown in the ACT you can request a food and essential item delivery to your front door for free.
A volunteer will deliver your order to your front door. These volunteers are not permitted to enter your home. If you are unable to collect the delivery from your front door you will need to arrange for a carer or approved visitor to assist you. A limited number of pantry items are available through this service. Fresh produce is not available at this time.
To place an order for emergency food and essential items and to find out what items are available call Volunteering ACT on 1800 43 11 33, on Monday to Friday between 9am and 5pm. If the phone is not answered, please leave a message and someone will return your call.
COVID-19 Test - Hardship Isolation Payment
Financial support to isolate while waiting for a test result is available through the ACT Government COVID-19 Test Hardship Isolation Payment. A payment of $270 will be made to eligible workers who isolate while awaiting their COVID 19 test result. This payment covers up to three days in isolation. A range of eligibility criteria apply. Apply for the isolation payment here.
Domestic Violence Services and Support
With the ACT in lockdown, for some, being at home may not be the safest place. If you feel unsafe, you do not need to stay home. Please know that police are available to help you.
If you experience, see or hear family violence occurring call Triple Zero (000) in an emergency or life threatening situation.
For non-urgent police assistance call 131 444.
Domestic Violence Crisis Service has created an Easy English document sharing tips on how to stay safe while in your home and information about how to contact them for help if you cannot telephone them. The Domestic Violence Crisis Service ACT crisis line (6280 0900) is also available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
The Easy English document is available here Ways to increase safety during Covid-19 (dvcs.org.au)
Carers ACT to host virtual activity program for people with disability
The current COVID-19 lockdown has presented some challenging times for us all. The Disability sector has seen some social programs temporarily close due to the restrictions, and as a result, people with disability are experiencing social isolation. Carers ACT acknowledges the importance of social connection and has a created a program of virtual activities to keep our disability community connected through these times.
The Team at Carers ACT are hosting sessions three afternoons a week, Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 3.00pm.
The sessions are free to attend and hosted through the Microsoft Teams platform.
For more information about each session and a link to download the free software before you start, open the virtual activity program.
If you have any questions or need assistance please email The.Hub@carersact.org.au or call 0413 997 466.
Advocacy for Inclusion Easy English resources
Easy English documents and videos about COVID-19 have been developed by Advocacy for Inclusion and are available on their resources page.
Accessible Information from Scope Australia
Scope have developed some great communication resources for understanding and staying safe from COVID-19, including:
- What is coronavirus and how can you be safe (video in Key Word Sign)
- How to use Key Word Sign to talk about COVID19 and keeping safe (information signs and poster)
- Use this Communication board to talk about the coronavirus with someone who has a communication difficulty. The board has instructions on how to use it.
- a task schedule to break down the task of washing hands into smaller steps for someone and support them to be more independent.
- a task schedule to help break down the task of putting on a face mask into smaller steps.
- Stay home and stay safe (Easy English poster)
- How to stay healthy (Easy English book)
Social Stories from Scope Australia
Social Stories are used to help someone better understand a specific social situation or idea.
Here are some Social Stories that explain the different situations and experiences you could have because of the coronavirus pandemic.
- I must wear a mask
- How can I stay safe from Coronavirus?
- I have been tested for Coronavirus
- How can I self-isolate at home?
- Why are we all staying at home?
- Someone I live with has been tested for the Coronavirus
- Missing things during the coronavirus
Activity and connection ideas during lockdown
- ACT Health has a webpage dedicated to Supporting others and their mental health and wellbeing.
- The Australian Red Cross has some tips for staying happy and hopeful during lockdown.
- Queensland Government’s activities for a stronger mental wellbeing resource has many ideas for goals and activities for people to try in lockdown.
- Carers ACT – Self-care tips and ideas for carers
Useful links and websites
You can also call the National Coronavirus and COVID-19 Vaccine Helpline which operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week on 1800 020 080. Contact details are also found here: National coronavirus and COVID-19 vaccine helpline
To connect to disability information and services you can call the National Disability Gateway on 1800 643 787. The Disability Gateway also includes a website at
For emergency respite, you can call your local Carer Gateway Service Provider 24 hours a day, 7 days a week on 1800 422 737. Contact details are also found here: Contact Carers ACT
If you have any further questions that have not been addressed after reading the ACT Health information, please contact the Office for Disability at email@example.com or 6207 1086.