Meet the volunteers doing their bit during COVID-19

Meet the volunteers doing their bit during COVID-19
Posted on Wed 22 Apr 2020

[CPA volunteers, Taylor and Amelia, shop for people with disabilities during COVID-19]

Taylor has only been volunteering at CPA for eight months, but he did not hesitate to answer the call to provide extra support for people with disability during COVID-19.

Taylor is a CPA volunteer from the Lake Macquarie region in NSW. He 23 years old and currently studying a Bachelor of Psychology (Honours) at the University of Newcastle. Plus, he works with the NSW Fire Brigade.

His passion for people with disability began when he started working at a cinema with someone living with Down syndrome.

“Seeing him and supporting him sparked my interest. I really wanted to get a better understanding of people with disability and the challenges they face, because I don’t have any person experience with it myself.”

He got involved with CPA through Amelia. She spoke about the friendly environment and how she got to work with some really amazing clients.

‘I wanted to do something where you could see the change you were making, where you could see the reward, and do something that helps someone else’, Taylor says.

So he became a volunteer in August last year.

A few weeks ago, a call-out was made for people to help residents in supported accommodation with their grocery shopping. These residents are adults with complex disabilities and therefore particularly vulnerable and within the ‘risk’ categories outlined by Health NSW.

Our dedicated Housing Managers do not want to send them out into the community and large groups. Plus, the allocated time for people with disabilities to access shops is between 7am and 8am, which is tricky with showers, medication and breakfast for our residents.

“I didn't have a second thought,” Taylor says. “I was happy to help out wherever I could. I could understand the panic and anxiety around coronavirus, especially for people who are vulnerable”.  

Taylor and his fellow volunteers shop for six to eight group homes.  As they are travelling from house-to-house, the volunteers are will provided with PPE: gloves, disinfectant spray and hand sanitiser. They sanitise everything before they drop it off at the selected houses.

The House Managers are very grateful and often praise the volunteers for doing a wonderful job.

“It is nice to know that during this whole crazy period, there are houses that don’t have to worry about getting food while they handle everything and stay indoors. It takes the stress off the House Managers.”.

Taylor has seen firsthand how COVID-19 is impacting people with disability.

“Some clients don’t understand the situation and why they have to stay inside. Explaining to someone that you can’t high-five or hug anymore is a challenge in itself.”

But he has also seen the impact of generous donations from the community, ranging from clothing to arts and craft materials.

“I have personally witnessed how far those donations go. I’ve seen how happy the House Managers are when they receive the donations. It makes a massive difference to the people who are stuck indoors at the moment.”

Taylor’s message is clear:

“The hardest thing for the community to realise is that we’re all going through this. People don’t always understand the challenges that can come with living with a disability, and how people with disability are impacted by coronavirus. They take their panic, anger and anxiety out on others. They need to know that it can be a lot harder for people with disability to adapt. So be patient and understanding of other people’s needs.” 

If you would like to learn more about our volunteering opportunities, please email volunteer@cerebralpalsy.org.au

You are invited to participate in an online survey about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on your child with a neurodevelopmental disability or rare genetic disorder.