National not for profits Carers NZ and IHC are offering check-ins and practical help for family carers and people living alone who would like day to day support.
wecare.kiwi will help people get through COVID-19 by providing direct help, and linking to other community initiatives in areas nationally.
Almost half a million New Zealanders care for family members who are unwell or have a chronic condition or disability. Disruptions to usual services and support staff are placing extra pressures on carers who are the country’s biggest frontline workforce, says Carers NZ CEO Laurie Hilsgen.
“Carers are already starting to have a tough time inside their ‘bubbles’ with less help available and more expected of them to support others,” she says. “wecare.kiwi won’t replace usual services but we can offer trained and Police vetted volunteers through IHC to anyone of any age who wants regular check-ins, and connections to various kinds of local help.”
IHC is New Zealand’s oldest and biggest charity, with 36 associations across New Zealand and hundreds of volunteers. It has solid linkages with a wide range of voluntary and service organisations in every community, and is deploying this capacity to provide a listening ear and a helping hand to anyone of any age during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Carers NZ and IHC also work closely with many other not for profits within the Carers Alliance, a coalition of 46 national charities.
“Collectively our networks support hundreds of thousands of New Zealanders caring for others,” says Janine Stewart of IHC, who acts as Co-Chair of the Carers’ Alliance.
It’s fast and free to register for help with wecare.kiwi by visiting the website or calling 0800 777 797.
She says many wecare.kiwi requests for help so far are for check-ins by phone and email.
“People are still getting used to Level 4 lockdown. They may not have friends or family close by and are seeking reassurance, or answers to questions about how to access support in the weeks ahead. Some are concerned already about how to source food and essential supplies if they can’t easily get out. We’re linking with community networks and suppliers to make this easier.”