Update from the SCARF CEO in response to COVID-19

As you are all aware, COVID-19 (Coronavirus) has been declared a global pandemic by the World Health Organisation.

As individuals and organisations we are all grappling with how this will impact on our day to day lives, and how best to respond.

I want to share some important information with you about how SCARF is responding to this rapidly changing situation, as well as what you can expect for us over the coming days and weeks.

The health and wellbeing of our community members and volunteers is our highest priority.

At all times we aim to match our decisions with the best information available. This means staying abreast of the latest health advice and consulting regularly with local health teams. It also means having ongoing conversations with partner organisations, community members, volunteers and staff.

With the support of our community mobilisers and information provided by the Multicultural Health Service we have been sharing health and safety information with community members, in a range of languages and formats, for several weeks now. We will continue to do this, as well as responding to questions and concerns as they arise.

We are still currently offering a drop-in service to community members, while also encouraging people to get in touch via phone and email first, where possible.

We are reviewing what capacity exists to safely deliver our other programs and are putting plans in place for SCARF to continue to operate with some reduced and much adapted service provision. This includes looking at opportunities to use technology to run some activities virtually.

The situation is rapidly evolving, and we expect our response will also evolve. We will do our best to be responsible and timely in making and communicating decisions.

We will share information with you regularly, and we welcome you getting in touch with any questions, concerns and ideas, as they arise.

To help us maintain our ability to provide support to the refugee community, we ask that anyone visiting the SCARF office please adhere to social distancing guidelines released by the government.

If you are sick, have returned from overseas in the past 14 days or been in contact with someone who has tested positive to COVID-19 in this time, please stay away from others – that is the most important thing you can do.

Please also practise good hand and sneeze/cough hygiene:

  • wash your hands frequently and for a duration of 20 seconds or more with soap and water, and dry your hands thoroughly before and after eating, and after going to the toilet
  • cover your cough and sneeze, dispose of tissues, and use alcohol-based hand sanitiser, and
  • if you are unwell, avoid contact with others (stay more than 1.5 metres from people).

Once again, thank you for your support, empathy and kindness.

Best regards,
Pippa Rendel