At first glance it is hard to see what a retirement village resident on Bribie Island has in common with someone living rough in Melbourne – but the clue is in the face mask.
For Melbournians at risk of homelessness or living rough, having face masks to meet COVID-19 rules and reduce the risk of infection has been critical.
Bolton Clarke’s Homeless Persons Program (HPP) teams in Melbourne have been working on a supply line with its retirement villages at Bribie, Maryborough and Mackay, CWA and Masks for Mates.
So far, they have sewn 550 reusable masks which have been donated to the HPP for distribution to those in need.
Gaby Williamson, who lives at Bolton Clarke’s Bongaree retirement village, was one of the team making masks.
“It’s a terrible situation down there (Melbourne),” she said. “They need (masks) desperately. We need more people to do things to help.
“I think it’s great that people can benefit from what I am doing up here. I really like to help, because we’ve been so safe up here – especially in the retirement village.”
Phillip Wyld, Bolton Clarke Retirement Village Manager, reckons Gaby would have made even more if she had the material!
Client Eden was one of the first to receive a donated reusable mask. “I don't really like wearing masks, but at least this one looks good and keeps me safe,” he says.
Program Manager Mary-Anne Rushford says the masks were “very much needed”. “Many clients were concerned they would be fined if they didn’t have access to masks,” she says.
Bolton Clarke nurses are also supplying other items including beanies and scarves to clients.
If you would like to support Bolton Clarke’s Homeless Persons Program, visit boltonclarke.com.au/homelessprogram