Connected Giving | April-May 2020 edition

Welcome to the April – May edition of Connected Giving, Australian Executor Trustees monthly update on current trends and news in philanthropy.

COVID-19 and the Disability Sector

In the April- May edition of Connected Giving we analyse the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on the disability sector. AET prides itself on building long-term and supportive relationships with donors and our community partners. Many of our not-for-profit partners work in the disability sector which is heavily dependent on fee for service revenue via the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

The disability sector has arguably suffered the greatest disruption to its service and business model as a consequence of Australia’s COVID-19 response. Nearly every organisation has had to cease or reinvent the way they service their clients, the majority of whom are considered ‘high risk’ of COVID-19 infection due to pre-existing conditions.

We’ve selected articles that provide insights into the impact of COVID-19 on people living with a disability, explore the tensions between policy and front-line workers, and highlight great examples of collaboration between NFP and for-profit sectors.

In this edition, Ben Clark, Head of Philanthropy and Social Investment asked Shaun Cannon the CEO of Kids Plus Foundation (a specialist allied health provider) about the impact of COVID-19 on the not-for-profit sector. 

For more information on how to identify which charities are aligned with your desired impact, please contact us.

Jump to any one of the edition’s articles by clicking the links below:

Shaun Cannon, CEO of Kids Plus Foundation talks about the impact of COVID-19 on the not-for-profit community

This month, we got the opportunity to talk to Shaun Cannon, CEO of Kids Plus Foundation. The organisation specialises in providing physical therapy and support programs for young people with neurodevelopmental conditions such as cerebral palsy. Read the full interview (4 mins). 

COVID-19's isolated world is the norm for people with disabilities

While much of Australia’s population is currently struggling with COVID-19 related isolation, the 1.3 billion people living with disabilities worldwide are no stranger to this kind of exclusion. After the global pandemic passes, many people living with disabilities will remain in this isolated state. What the societal response to this pandemic does show however, is that “business as usual” can be changed to be more inclusive. Widespread home working, dedicated shopping hours for the vulnerable, and virtual conferencing technology indicates that businesses can not only adapt, but thrive with employees working from home. While this is a positive, many specific needs of people with disabilities are being overlooked amid this pandemic, such as effective, accessible digital communication. Read the full article (7 mins).

Priority home delivery for NDIS participants

A priority service has launched in partnership with Australian supermarket retailers including Harris Farm, Woolworths, Coles, IFS, and Foodworks, to provide access to essential supplies for over 340,000 National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) participants during COVID-19. People living with a disability are many and varied, therefore having a wide range of options available to access groceries is crucial. Support needs to be given to all people living with a disability, not just NDIS participants, and the Government must take the lead, or collaborate with the not-for-profit sector to provide more accessible solutions. Read the full article (5 mins). 

Calls for Australia’s disability carers to get the same coronavirus protections as aged care workers

After the death of a disability worker in Victoria from COVID-19, advocates are calling for action to ensure the safety of Australians living with a disability and their carers. For many who rely on carers entering their homes for daily survival, socially isolating can be near impossible. The only way to mitigate this risk is for the government to recognise carers as essential services in order to ensure the supply of personal protective equipment (PPE). Read the full article (7 mins). 

Families of children with disability left in the dark during COVID-19

A new study by the Australian Coalition for Inclusive Education (ACIE) and Children and Young People with Disability Australia (CYDA) found that 80 per cent of families with children with disability have been unable to source essential supplies during the coronavirus pandemic. Families also felt frustrated by the lack of Auslan interpreters on public health announcements, and confused about whether vital support will continue if carers are quarantined. 86 per cent of families said they were not receiving information needed to keep families safe during the crisis. More than 34 per cent had support workers cancelled, while 15 per cent have not been able to buy medication for their kids. The Disability Reform Council, made up of state, territory, and federal disability ministers, must come up with an immediate action plan for an inclusive approach for children and young people with disability. Read the full article (6 mins). 

‘Manifestly inadequate’: Disability carers plead for PPE, warn of collapse without more support

Industry leaders in the disability sector are asking for help to keep their doors open and for personal protective equipment (PPE) for carers. Without such help, highly vulnerable Australians risk losing critical care services. The disability care sector plays a huge role in ensuring hospitals are not swamped with cases of COVID-19. The future of staff caring for Australians with the most severe disabilities who are in full time residential care are also at risk, as they have not been guaranteed access to equipment such as masks, goggles, and protective clothing. Aged care workers have been granted priority for COVID-19 testing, will be given specialist preventative training for the virus, be paid a retention bonus and access to protective clothing. The disability sector is asking for similar conditions. Read the full article (7 mins). 

NDS COVID-19 Impact Survey April 2020

Australia’s disability peak body, the National Disability Service (NDS) recently surveyed several members on the impact COVID-19 has had on their ability to provide services during the pandemic and their responses to the JobKeeper payment. Read the full article (8 mins). 

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