A NSW free from poverty and inequality

COVID-19 Community Sector Resource

If you are seeking medical assistance, please visit the NSW Health website or call the National Coronavirus Health Information Line on 1800 020 080 for information and advice.

We have compiled this living resource to provide the latest information on COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) relevant to the health and community services sector and help the sector maintain service continuity. The recent lockdown measures implemented on social housing estates in Melbourne and worsening conditions in NSW are a stark reminder of the heightened vulnerability of people living in disadvantaged circumstances, and the ongoing need for contingency planning to ensure people aren’t further disadvantaged. 

We have assurances that your usual funding arrangements should not be impacted, if there is a need to temporarily suspend or change some elements of your service. If your service is significantly impacted by COVID-19 and you have difficulty meeting your contract requirements, speak to your contract manager about the developing situation and any contingency plans that may need to be put in place.

Since March 2020, NCOSS CEO, Joanna Quilty, has regularly joined Simone Walker, Deputy Secretary, Strategy, Policy and Commissioning at DCJ, to discuss specific issues facing the sector, which you can find on Community Sector COVID-19 Video Updates from DCJ and NCOSS.

Community Sector Updates from
NCOSS and NSW Department of Communities and Justice

NCOSS CEO Joanna Quilty regularly joins DCJ Deputy Secretary Simone Walker to answer your questions with clear, accurate information about how COVID-19 is impacting the community services sector.

The latest video reflects on some of the key issues and how they were managed. They include:
  • Contracts and recontracting and budget challenges
  • Provision of resources to support service delivery
  • Delivery of technology equipment to support families with young children
  • The need for a plan for the future for both citizens and NGOs

Next week DCJ will provide additional information in written form.

You can find the previous video updates on Community Sector COVID-19 Video Updates from DCJ and NCOSS.

If you have a specific question that you would like to be addressed, send to advocacy@ncoss.org.au or COVID19.Support@facs.nsw.gov.au and we will endeavour to get to it in our video updates.


Important information for the sector


Service continuity - general advice and tools

If there is a need to temporarily suspend some elements of your service, your funding should not be impacted. If your service has been significantly impacted by COVID-19, or you think it will be, and you may have difficulty meeting your contract requirements, speak to your contract manager about the developing situation and any contingency plans that may need to be put in place.




Work health and safety at home and in the workplace


Targeted information for specific sectors and communities


Aged Care

Domestic and Family Violence

Housing and Homelessness

Early childhood, schools and universities


Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and remote communities

Culturally and linguistically diverse communities


Children and young people

Older people



Government support for organisations

Support measures and information

Government Grants and Funding


Non-Government Support for organisations

Grants and funding opportunities

  • Community Grants Program Sisters of Charity Foundation Closing 30 September 2020
  • The COVID-19 Rapid Advocacy Fund Australian Progress, Australian Communities Foundation & ACOSS Currently open
  • COVID-19 Emergency Relief Funding St George Foundation Currently open
  • COVID-19 National Funding Platform Australian Communities Foundation & Philanthropy Australia – a national funding platform to coordinate the philanthropic response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Eligible proposals from NFPs will be listed on the COVID-19 Funding Platform Granting Opportunities register, and be searchable by the public and prospective funders.

In-kind and other support


Government support for people impacted


Legal advice

For organisations

For people impacted


Managing social distancing


Mental health and wellbeing

Health obligations under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 extend to both physical and psychological health, so persons conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU) have a responsibility to support their workers in the uncertain and changing times the COVID 19 pandemic is creating. 


Digital literacy, tools and tips


Examples of innovative practice in the sector

Better Chances Forum, led by Social Futures

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The Better Chances Forum (BCF) is a collaboration of more than 75 organisations from the community, government and private sectors supporting better chances for children, young people and their families. They focus on early intervention and prevention to keep families together. They bring together people from organisations and groups across the Northern Rivers region of NSW to: explore service system challenges, gaps and opportunities; share information and build relationships; understand what’s working and what’s not working; and consider how we can work better alongside communities.

BCF provides an online meeting space each fortnight where services can connect, collaborate and support each other through this challenging time for our children, young people, families and our sector. Anyone is welcome to join in the meetings, which are facilitated by Social Futures through Zoom. Some topics discussed include:

  • Accessing legal advice to support families as they exit from COVID-19 social isolation
  • An increase in child wellbeing reports and the importance of referring clients to early intervention child protection legal advice
  • The importance of existing place-based community connectors such as early childhood education services in staying connected with vulnerable families.
  • Extra student support during school holidays and returning to school
  • Increased referrals from schools after school return, including children needing to access basic needs to attend school, eg, uniforms.
  • Liaising with police regarding interactions with young people in public space due to COVID-19 restrictions 
  • Lack of referral points for young people from 12 years and up to 20 years and the growing gap observed in the sector
  • Existing services are at capacity and youth worker/ mentor focused programs are needed
  • Promoted the Community-hub as a central point of communication during this time. Including consolidated resources on the Community-hub – in consultation with Dept Education – for schools to access regarding local services offering support for families transitioning back to school on campus.

An online evaluation showed that attendees agreed the session content was relevant to their work and they feel better placed to continue their work. Participants commented the most valuable aspect of sharing time together was:

  • Sharing ideas and strategies with other organisations on how to engage with vulnerable families and children, and sharing information regarding support for communities
  • An awareness of agency support and what services organisations can link to, and a greater awareness of issues in the community
  • Opportunities for collaboration

BCF is building on this connection. We are currently reviewing our processes to focus on driving systemic change, including testing our cultural bias and including the voice of children and young people in BCF.

See more examples of innovative practices

We'd love to share your organisation's innovative practices. Send us your story if you would like to be featured.


Latest research

Find the full list of relevant research in COVID-19 Research


Emergency contacts

  • Call 000 if you are facing a current emergency or facing immediate danger. This will link you to services including ambulance, fire and police services.
  • Call 13 11 14 if you are facing a current crisis and need immediate support. This will link you to Lifeline's 24-hour telephone crisis support service.

The following organisations can help with counselling, domestic violence, tenancy, suicide prevention, financial advice and other serious situations.

  • Beyond Blue: 1300 224 636 
  • Suicide Call Back Service 24/7: 1300 659 467
  • Kids Helpline: 1800 551 800
  • Relationships Australia: 1300 364 277
  • DV Connect 24/7: 1800 811 811
  • Family Drug Support 24/7: 1300 368 186
  • Mensline: 1800 600 636 (Free, confidential telephone crisis counselling, referral and support service for men experiencing domestic, family or sexual violence)
  • Gambler's Help 24/7: 1800 858 858
  • Tenants Union: 8117 3700
  • Homeless Hotline 24/7: 1800 474 753
  • National Debt Helpline 1800 007 007
  • National Social Security Rights Network http://www.nssrn.org.au/

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