Get Help

How Council can help

Many of us are experiencing isolation and finding things difficult to manage during COVID-19. If you are experiencing these feelings Council’s Community Activation and Social Isolation (CASI) initiative Community Connector can talk you through some of the supports and resources that are available to you.

About the Community Activation and Social Isolation (CASI) initiative. CASI is a DHHS funded program designed to link people who need help into local services and supports.  

  • If you’re feeling lonely or isolated due to the COVID-19 pandemic – for example, if you’re self isolating due to age or health conditions - you can access social, emotional or practical support via the Community Activation and Social Isolation (CASI) initiative.
  • To access the service, call Victoria’s COVID-19 hotline on 1800 675 398 and choose option 3 or 8, or call Council directly on 5261 0600 or submit a message online to us 7 days a week
  • We have received funding from the Victorian Government to deliver the program to the Surf Coast Shire community, in partnership with the Red Cross, DHHS and our local providers.

For information about other help or support, please check out the categories of help available below.

This page will be updated as more sources of help become available.

Food

Need immediate help?

Emergency relief packages with food and essential items are available to eligible households quarantining due to coronavirus. To register, phone the coronavirus hotline on 1800 675 398.

Torquay Food Aid can help people in the local Torquay community access additional food sources. torquayfoodaid@gmail.com


Ongoing support getting food and groceries

Local Supermarkets

Supermarkets are offering online ordering and deliveries across the Surf Coast Shire and many local grocers and food shops have adapted their businesses to provide great services to our communities. Check the buysurfcoast.com.au website or give them a call.

Food relief providers

Social media groups

Longer Term Supports

Financial support

Payments to Council

We understand our community is facing unprecedented challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic and will exercise reasonable flexibility about payment dates.

Council has a Covid-19 hardship policy(PDF, 294KB) to provide flexibility to those experiencing financial hardship. This includes the waiving of penalty interest until 30 June 2021, flexible repayment schedules (including up to 3 months with no repayments) and repayments that better suit your individual circumstances. If you are experiencing financial difficulty we strongly encourage you to enter into a rates payment arrangement.

At all times, low income ratepayers and cardholders of a valid Pensioner Concession, Health Care, Commonwealth Seniors, Department of Veterans Affairs or Repatriation Card may apply to defer rate payments if they are experiencing financial hardship.

Find rates forms on the Forms and Permits page

Please contact us on (03) 5261 0600 as early as possible if you wish to discuss this with us.

DHHS has a list of financial support options available for individuals, families and businesses


Financial support for individuals and families

Australian Government Federal Treasury information

Centrelink Coronavirus Payments and Support

Jobs Hub

Red Cross Extreme Hardship Support Program(PDF, 46KB) (for Victorians who cannot access Commonwealth - such as JobKeeper or JobSeeker - or International Student Emergency Relief Fund financial support packages, including temporary and provisional visa holders and undocumented migrants with little or no income, savings or community support)

Red Cross Emergency Relief for People on Temporary Visas – Financial Assistance

Emergency Relief services 

Emergency Relief is a service for those experiencing financial hardship.

Emergency Relief can include food parcels, supermarket vouchers, assistance with bills and other financial support services. 

Bethany Community Support (03) 5278 8122

Catholic Care Geelong 0428 898 645

SalvoConnect Barwon (03) 5223 9200

Uniting Barwon (03) 4210 1100


Having trouble paying your bills?

Contact your electricity, gas, phone and/or internet provider, insurance company/ies, private health fund, and bank (if you have mortgage repayments), to see what they have in place to support their customers/members experiencing financial hardship due to COVID-19.


Support for businesses

Businesses are facing unprecedented challenges as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, but there is support available. Take a look at our page dedicated to supporting business during the COVID-19 pandemic.


Employment skills and workshops

The Gordon Geelong Skills and Jobs Centre offers many free events, workshops and services for anyone to access. Get help with your resume or interview skills, find ways to upskill, create work/career goals or perhaps take the first steps to explore a new industry.

See more tips and resources for job seeking, upskilling and studying on our Learning and Interests page. 

Internet Access and Mobile Data

Through certain mobile phone and internet providers, you may be able to access additional free data. Some providers are doing this automatically, for others you will need to contact your provider.

Coronavirus (COVID-19)

What are the symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19)?

The symptoms to watch out for are:

  • Fever
  • Chills or sweats
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Shortness of breath
  • Runny nose
  • Loss of sense of smell 

In certain circumstances headache, muscle soreness, stuffy nose, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea may also be considered.

To get further advice, call the 24-hour coronavirus hotline 1800 675 398, your local doctor or use our online self-assessment tool.

Information flyers in 18 other languages are being developed to distribute to migrant and asylum seeker groups in the community and can be downloaded here: https://www.redcross.org.au/coronavirus

Who should get tested?

If you have any of the symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19), however mild, you should seek advice and get tested.

 

Where can I get tested?

Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) have an interactive map that allows you to see the coronavirus (COVID-19) testing locations across Victoria.

Mental health


In an emergency call 000


GP/Doctors are the entry point for non-emergency mental health support for people of all ages. If you are going through a tough time or are struggling, make an appointment today.

headspace Geelong

Young people (12-25 years) have the option to either access their GP/Doctor or their local headspace center.

headspace Geelong provide a range of services to improve the health and wellbeing of 12-25 year old's including; mental health and wellbeing, physical and sexual health, work and study support, and alcohol and other drug services.

(03) 5222 6690

Safe Minds fact sheet(PDF, 482KB)
Support Your Young Person During the Holidays fact sheet(PDF, 206KB)

Mental health phone lines and online support:

Lifeline

Crisis support, suicide prevention and mental health support services.

13 11 14

Beyond Blue

Support and advice for people with depression, anxiety or other mental health issues.

1300 22 4636

eheadspace

Mental health support for young people aged 12-25 years and their families or friends.

1800 650 890

Kids Helpline

Counselling service for people aged between 5 and 25.

1800 55 1800

Partners in Wellbeing

This free service offers one-on-one support to help you improve your wellbeing, develop strategies to cope and provide emotional support when and as you need it.
Partners in Wellbeing flyer(PDF, 327KB)

1300 375 330 

Information and resources:

For more tips see our Things to do page

Alcohol and other drugs


In an emergency call 000


Barwon Child, Youth and Family

Alcohol and other drug entry point, for young people and adults who need support in relation to their alcohol and/or other drug use.

1300 022 293

DirectLine (24 hour phone line)

Information, counselling and referral for alcohol and drug issues.

1800 888 236

Family violence and sexual assault


Anyone in immediate danger should call 000.


The Orange Door Barwon  

Entry point for those experiencing or perpetrating family violence.

1800 312 820 if you can’t call, you can an email and they will contact you as soon as possible from a private number (remember to delete the email from your sent folder) barwon@orangedoor.vic.gov.au 

The Sexual Assault and Family Violence Center

Entry point for those experiencing domestic violence, family violence and/or sexual assault. 

(03) 5222 4318 if you can’t call, you can an email and they will contact you as soon as possible from a private number (remember to delete the email from your sent folder) reception@safvcentre.org.au

Safe Steps (24 hour phone line)

Connects women and their children with specialist support workers who help them explore their options, develop a safety plan and access supports that allow them to live safe from family violence.

1800 015 188 if you can’t call, you can an email and they will contact you as soon as possible from a private number (remember to delete the email from your sent folder) safesteps@safesteps.org.au

Sexual Assault Crisis Line (24 hour phone line)

State-wide, after-hours, confidential, telephone crisis counselling service for people who have experienced both past and recent sexual assault.

1800 806 292

 

Family violence phone lines and online support:

1800Respect

Counselling and information for people impacted by sexual assault, domestic or family violence and abuse.

1800 737 732

MensLine

Counselling service for men with emotional health and relationship concerns.

1300 78 99 78

With Respect

Resources, tips and advice for LGBTIQ+ people on healthy relationships and family violence.

1800 542 847

 

Information and resources:

1800Respect App for Women with Disability
Designed by women with disability and 1800RESPECT, Sunny is a free new app that supports women with disability to understand sexual assault, domestic and family violence, know their rights and reach out for support.

Housing and crisis accommodation

SalvoConnect Barwon

Housing entry point for adults and families experiencing homelessness. 

 (03) 5223 9220

Barwon Child Youth and Family

Housing entry point for young people (12-25 years) experiencing homelessness. 

(03) 5226 8900

Salvation Army Crisis Services (24 hour phone line)

Crisis and emergency accommodation services and support for people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.

1800 825 955                                                                                             

Families

Due to the health, social and economic impacts of COVID-19; many of us are being faced with new and unprecedented challenges.

During challenging and stressful times it is more important than ever that we take actions that support our health and wellbeing.

The Staying healthy at home during COVID-19 - Families Resource(PDF, 2MB) provides practical information for families during this time.

People with a disability

Food

  • Priority home delivery is available for anyone with an NDIS package and their carers
  • Coles and Woolworths are operating a Community Hour from 7am–8am Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
  • Basic Box - Woolworths are also delivering an $80 box of basic food and hygiene supplies for people with a disability, those with compromised immunity and people in mandatory isolation. Order online or on the telephone 1800 904 698 (be aware of long hold times in busy periods).
  • If you require emergency food relief, please see the Food section of the Get Help page. 

Medicines and prescriptions

  • If you or someone you care for has a chronic medical condition, you can now get prescriptions via free home delivery.
  • The Home Medicines Service is available for people in home isolation and for vulnerable patient groups who wish to limit their potential exposure to novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in the community.

Mental and Physical Health

Internet Access and Mobile Data

Through certain mobile phone and internet providers, you may be able to access additional free data. Some providers are doing this automatically, for others you will need to contact your provider.

General Supports

The Australian Government has funded a dedicated helpline – the Disability Information Helpline: 1800 643 787 – to provide accessible information, counselling and outreach services for people with disability (and carers) who are concerned about or affected by coronavirus (COVID-19). For more information, visit www.dss.gov.au/disabilityhelp

National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) 1800 800 110           
NDIS is the entry point for those aged 7-65 years with a disability who require funding to access the support they need.        

Barwon Child, Youth and Family 1300 022 293   
Early Childhood Early Intervention entry point for families who have concerns about a child’s development, a possible developmental delay or disability (for children up to the age of 7). 

Barwon disAbility Resource Council 5221 8011
Advocacy and information for all people with disability.  

WCIG offers a range of supports including links to events, social connections and employment programs

Carer Gateway 1800 422 737
the new Integrated Carer Support System (ICSS) is now live. Carers can jump online or call to access a wide range of help – from counselling and peer support groups to respite care, home help and equipment.

Family Violence

1800Respect App for Women with Disability - Designed by women with disability and 1800RESPECT, Sunny is a free new app that supports women with disability to understand sexual assault, domestic and family violence, know their rights and reach out for support.

Social Connections

NDIS Events
WCIG offers virtual activities such as yoga, meditation, social groups and employment skills.

Virtual happy hour connecting the blind community
Probono News, 28th March: As people across Australia retreat into their homes and stay there, Blind Citizens Australia has launched daily virtual happy hours to connect socially isolated people who are blind or vision impaired.

For other ideas, check out our Things to do pages, or contact your local disability service provider.

Job matching

Working for Victoria Fund $500 million from the Victorian Government to VCOSS and the Victorian Trades Hall Council to develop a scheme that matches people out of work with jobs that need doing during the pandemic.

People over 65

My Aged Care

My Aged Care is the entry point for those 65 years or older (50 or over if Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander) who want to access to a range of government-funded services that help them to live independently.

1800 200 422

 

Due to the health, social and economic impacts of COVID-19; many of us are being faced with new and unprecedented challenges.

During challenging and stressful times it is more important than ever that we take actions that support our health and wellbeing.

The Staying healthy at home during COVID-19 - 65 and over resource(PDF, 2MB) provides practical information for those 65 years and over during this time.

 

If you're still having trouble finding help, call our COVID-19 Relief Team on 5261 0600 or send us a message online.