COVID-19 Update 17 March 2020 We’re expecting significant interuptions to business-as-usual not only in our sector, but across the entire country as the COVID-19 situation rapidly evolves. No matter where in an organisation or business you sit, we all have a role to play in getting through this as best possible.At Youth Projects, we’ve started enacting a number of measures to mitigate the risk of exposure to our staff and clients whilst ensuring business continuity as best possible given the circumstances. This means that the way you’d usually interact with us will change over the coming weeks and months. Our dedicated Pandemic Team is responsible for coordinating and guiding a phased response to our Pandemic Action Plan. This group has strong guidance and support from the Executives and Board of Directors – ensuring a whole-of-organisation approach. Some of the measures we’ve already enacted include: Cancelling all non-essential internal and external meetings, excursions, incursions and visitors. Implementing stricter hygiene protocols and education for all staff and clients. Arranging alternative methods of meeting with clients, contractors, service partners and the likes (tele and video conferences). Re-arranged work stations to enable social distancing in the workplace. Enabling particular business functions to work remotely to minimise interactions in the workplace and ensure business continuity in the event of staff falling ill. Screening of all inbound people at our Glenroy and City sites. All outreach services are practising distancing techniques to ensure there is no contact. We are taking a phased response to our pandemic action plan and limiting client contact as we need to. Although we are not closing down at the time of sending this, we have enacted service restrictions across the organisation: The Living Room / Community Health Services remain open and will continue at this time, however new service restrictions commenced today. Immediate steps have been taken to reduce risk of infection including changing food on offer and screening every person that enters the Living Room. Limiting the number of people that enter the Living Room at any one time. Future actions are being considered regarding appointment based attendance and external triage and assessment. Outreach Services Services will continue to operate for the present time. Limited personal contact instructions (including distancing techniques) are now in place for all of our outreach teams (including YHOP, YNOT, Foot Patrol, NWOS & After Hours Nurses) Alternative methods of maintaining client interactions are being strongly encouraged, where possible. Employment Services (Transition to Work & Disability Employment Services) These services remain accessible and all employment services staff have contacted their caseloads to ensure alternative arrangements are being made to maintain support (via phone, online or video call) Clients that have been placed into work have been advised to follow guidance and advice from their respective employer around their workplace response. Good2Go (social enterprise café) The café will remain open for counter service only and opening hours reduced to 8am - 12pm. The back area of the café (op shop and lounges) will be blocked off from all customers and clients. Additional food standards and hygiene practices are now in effect (i.e. frequently disinfecting surfaces, reducing person-to-person contact). Melbourne Training Options Some of our training will be moved online to reduce the number of students on site at any given time. Please talk to a Trainer or Group Facilitator to see if this affects you. Program wait lists If you or your organisation are currently on a referral wait list for Youth Projects service or program, please inform your client about some of the changes that may impact them. We’ve identified a number of essential services that we aim to keep open in event of a pandemic. If the need to close or suspend specific services does arise, this would be a decision made in order to protect the health and safety of our staff and clients first and foremost. Latest adviceWe are working closely with the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and the Primary Health Networks (PHNs) to ensure that we maintain trusted, reliable and truthful sources of information to inform and guide our organisational response. In tough times, Victorians always show their true strength and kindness and we know this will be no different. As this situation continues to evolve, I am already seeing our teams respond and act with tenacity, passion and an unyielding commitment to ensure the safety of our staff and clients.