Image: Marcello D'Amico, Secretary of the Federation, with groceries purchased to assemble care packages for distribution to Italian seniors’ groups and members.
The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has changed the way we live, connect, socialise and support one another. For senior Victorians living alone, or feeling far from home and their community, the pandemic has been especially challenging. Organisations supported by the Coronavirus Support for Multicultural Seniors (CSMS) program in 2020-21 helped their communities to stay connected, access essential supplies and information, and to forge new friendships.
Federazione Pensionati Italiani Del Victoria
For 30 years, the Federazione Pensionati Italiani Del Victoria (the Federation) has supported a network of Italian seniors’ groups and members. The Federation provides a central platform for groups and members to come together, form friendships and social connections, share existing resources and understand local services available.
When COVID-19 started impacting Victorians, the Federation knew it would be important to provide seniors with practical support, regular communication, accurate information and assistance to access and navigate technology. Groups and members of the Federation were especially concerned about the wellbeing of their most vulnerable and isolated members.
“We were cut off from the rest of the world and isolated. Even going to do the shopping we couldn’t just go. We had to figure out how to bring families together whether via phone or by computer. But the older we are, we don’t have the access and knowledge of computers,” Marcello D'Amico, Secretary of the Federation said.
The Federation received a $2000 Coronavirus Support for Multicultural Seniors (CSMS) program grant which enabled the Federation to support around 300-400 seniors in Melbourne’s northern and western suburbs.
“All the members were ecstatic. It wasn’t a great deal of money, but it is what it represents, we can all come together. We are very grateful for everything that this funding gives to us,” Mr D'Amico said.
With the support of the grant and the generosity of local business and donations, the Federation organised care packages including essential food and sanitiser to support members’ safety and wellbeing, purchased new computer software and office equipment to support groups to keep in contact with members, and bought essential cleaning supplies to deliver COVID-Safe in-person activities.
The Federation's support for seniors was a team effort with many people stepping up to help. Through their coordinated efforts and commitment to supporting their community, the Federation reached seniors who were previously unaware of the support available through local seniors’ groups. New members have found companionship and new connections that will support them through the pandemic and beyond.
Groups and members of the Federation are looking forward to the times when they will be able to meet face-to-face and enjoy cooking for each other once again.
Learn more about organisations that support the diverse needs of multicultural older Australians.
To access COVID-19 resources translated into a range of languages, visit the Victorian Government Coronavirus . Phone support is available by calling the COVID-19 hotline on 1800 675 398. If you need an interpreter, call the COVID-19 hotline 1800 675 398 and press 0.
Reviewed 21 December 2022