Children’s Ground is one of the long-standing partners of Gandel Foundation. They were one of the recipients of emergency COVID funding, released in April 2020, to enable them to respond to the needs of Indigenous communities they work with in Northern Territory. In June Children’s Ground provided an update on their response to date.
Children’s Ground’s COVID response commenced in mid-March. Recognizing that we are engaged with some of the most at-risk communities in Australia, Children’s Ground wasted no time in creating and implementing a response plan focused on COVID prevention. Many of Children’s Ground educators have serious underlying health conditions, putting them at an increased risk of contracting COVID-19. Housing and a scarcity of essential resources also pose significant threats. Many families Children’s Ground is involved with live in overcrowded conditions and have inadequate facilities to self-isolate should someone fall ill. Further, families do not have financial resources to readily access essentials required to prevent the spread of the virus, such as cleaning and hygiene products.
Ensuring families have adequate household supplies is a major priority within Children’s Ground’s emergency response. This included sourcing both hygiene and winter items through procurement and in-kind donations. To date, over 9,900 items have been distributed to 124 families in Town Camps, outstations and Alice Springs town. This includes bleach, all-purpose cleaners, garbage bags, sponges, Chux wipes, dish soap, hand soap, sanitizers and other critical household items.
Children’s Ground collaborated with other local organizations in Alice Springs to minimize the risk of duplication and to expand the reach of distributions.
Children’s Ground also put a food security program into place. The restriction of movement, combined with heightened health risks and high cost to obtain food in remote areas called for the need to develop a short-term food security program to ensure people’s daily nutritional needs were met. The approach taken addresses the four interrelated elements of food security: availability, access, utilisation and stability, with an additional layer of principles specific to the situation in the Northern Territory.
Our food security program includes the provision of ‘starter packs’ which include regular food staples such as flour, oil, salt, spices and other essentials. ‘Plus’ packages are also provided and include non-perishables (e.g. tinned vegetables and tinned meat) and a fresh food component. To date, 70 starter packs and over 100 packages have been distributed to nearly 100 families. We are also working in partnership with other organisations to extend support through Central Australia and Top End remote communities to support grassroots food security.