Some people do not have friends and family they can ask for help.
We know this.
We have heard many heartbreaking stories over the years. People doing it tough who have contacted Gather My Crew because they do not have friends and family they can ask for help. Some of them are desperate and clearly coming to the end of their capacity to cope… They want to know if we have volunteers who can help them.
Apart from encouraging them to ‘reach out’ to try and find their ‘hidden angels’ – we have to tell them that Gather My Crew cannot help. Our technology coordinates known networks of support. We do not match volunteers to people in need.
Adding to our frustration was knowing that there are people out there who would be able to help if only they knew what was needed.
We are often contacted by people who want to volunteer to help people in their local neighbourhood. People who are willing and able to take others to an appointment or to the shops, pop in for a cup of tea, cook a meal, mow a lawn, be a shoulder to cry on or someone to hang out with…
As a charity with a mission to build ‘support crews’ around those who need it most, each time we would receive one of these emails I would feel a pang of helplessness that we could not do more to link these people together.
Finding ways for Gather My Crew to help people who do not have any family or friends around them has been on our minds for years. It has been a ‘ONE DAY WE WILL FIX THIS’ goal for Gather My Crew. Something we addressed in our strategic plan – but was set well into the future. We just could not attract the funding to make this a reality…
And then 2020 came along.
The year launched with the summer bushfires and continued with a global pandemic… and, all of a sudden, the plight of the vulnerable within our community – and the power of neighbourhoods to come together to look after their more vulnerable – became a focus for all of us.
The need for a safe, trusted, secure and sustainable solution to the issue of matching those in the community who need practical help with those who can provide such help became urgent.
To address this urgent need, Gather My Crew will be launching a new platform called ‘Connect’ later this year. Developed with the help of our wonderful partner organisations (including Volunteering Victoria, Red Cross, Justice Connect, Bayside City Council, Yarra Ranges Council, City of Greater Shepparton).
This new platform will safely and securely link people in need of help with their local community who are able and willing to provide help.
Local groups will be able to register their community ‘support crew’ to be mobilised within their neighbourhood to provide practical help to local people in need. Mindful of needing to be COVID-safe, we will be starting with the provision of food, garden maintenance and social connection.
Launching through three Local Government Areas in Victoria later this year, we hope to expand this offer throughout 2021.
We have been dreaming about for YEARS and are just incredibly grateful that we now have the opportunity to make a difference in this space.
You can find out more about this project on our website and, if you want to bring Find My Crew to your local area, leave your details in the contact area and we will keep you in the loop as things develop.