• Tony Bosworth

Hawkesbury’s young people making a call on the COVID lockdown to offer support to the elderly

Meet the group of local young people who are volunteering their time to reach out to check on the welfare of vulnerable older folks across the Hawkesbury during the current lockdown.

In just two weeks, they made over 300 calls checking on our elderly, and they’re still at it.

Chloe Tyrrell making connections with our elderly

The group of young people, aged between 17 and 25, originally got together after Macquarie MP Susan Templeman sought their advice and input into a range of local issues.

When the lockdown began this time around they decided to work together again and got on the phone to check on the elderly and vulnerable.

“The group volunteered to call older people to ask if they have the essentials, if they need anything, and sometimes just to chat about the garden,” Ms Templeman said.

“I don’t think any of them had done something like this before, and it can be a bit daunting picking up the phone and calling someone you don’t know.

Liam Holt gets on the phone

“But in just two weeks they made more than 300 calls, with some conversations lasting about 15 minutes.

“Some people are busy or don’t particularly want to chat, and that’s fine, but those that do have commented how nice it was to receive a call – especially from these dedicated young people.”

Hawkesbury group member Chloe Tyrrell, 17, said lockdown was hard and isolating for everyone.

“Making the calls meant that I could reach out to those that really need it, and connect with people in our community that I wouldn’t have otherwise known,” Ms Tyrrell said.

“It’s also been a welcome break from HSC study!”

Liam Holt, 22, said each member of the group brought something valuable to it.

“Young people are valuable members of the community, with a lot of ideas and a lot of passion to make a difference locally,” Mr Holt said.

“The action group allows for young people to come together as a collective, with a shared vision to improve the community.

“Further, it allows each member to have their voice and their ability to affect change amplified - each member contributes something valuable to the group that allows for us to be involved in campaigns and in outreach that improves the lives of local people.

“We would love to encourage anyone interested in making a difference locally to join the group.”

Ms Templeman said the group’s activities came as some refreshing good news during such a challenging time.

“Lockdown has been extremely challenging for everyone in the Hawkesbury, Blue Mountains, and of course Greater Sydney area, and for many the social isolation can affect their mental and physical health,” Ms Templeman said.

“These young people, and I, know we need to emerge from this lockdown with our community intact – regardless of your age, gender or postcode.

Ms Templeman is also keeping in touch and supporting the young volunteers as well as residents. Pic here is an archive shot of the MP at home with Billie the dog. Ms Templeman is currently in Canberra quarantining

“I’m really proud of the outreach they are doing, and I’d like to congratulate each and every one of them for their personal commitment to ensure no one is left behind in our community.

“If you’re a local young person who’d like to be involved in this type of volunteer work, please get in touch via email at susan.templeman.mp@aph.gov.au.

“And of course, anyone who needs assistance with Federal issues during this difficult time can contact my team – we are only a phone call away if you need help.

“We are all in this together, we’re on your side, and we don’t want to see anyone left behind,” said Ms Templeman.

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