COVID-19 community support

The outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19) has impacted people in varying ways on an international scale. It is understandable that during times like this, people may be feeling afraid, worried, anxious and overwhelmed by the constantly changing alerts and media coverage regarding the spread of the virus.

This page contains resources and information to assist us to continue looking after ourselves and each other during these difficult times. We will continue to monitor and update this resource as new information becomes available.

For the most up-to-date information about coronavirus please go to the Department of Health and Human Services websiteIf you need information in a language other than English, please see the DHHS Translated Resources page.



Helpline / Counselling Services

If you are in immediate danger, call Police on 000.

If you or someone you know is in crisis, and you are unsure which service to contact, call Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800 or Lifeline on 13 11 14. Both are available from anywhere in Australia 24 hours a day (toll free) and provide generalist crisis counselling, information and referral services.


 Helpline / Counselling service


24-hour service?


1800 My Options

Provides information and referrals for sexual and reproductive health, specifically contraception, unplanned pregnancy, abortion, and sexual health care.


1800 696 784

Mon–Fri: 10am – 4pm (excluding public holidays)

BreakThrough Ice Advice

Provides information, support and referrals for ice users and their families.


1800 423 238

Carers Victoria Advisory Line

Provides information, support and referrals to caring families in Victoria.


1800 514 845

Mon–Fri: 8.30am – 5pm (excluding public holidays)


Provides free and confidential counselling, information and referral for alcohol and drug-related matters.


1800 888 236

Djirra Aboriginal Family Violence Legal Service

Provides telephone and face-to-face legal and non-legal support to Aboriginal people who are experiencing or have experienced family violence.


1800 105 303

Mon–Fri: 9am – 5pm

Family Drug and Gambling Help

A confidential telephone support service staffed by volunteers with experience of Alcohol and Other Drugs (AOD) and gambling issues within the family.


1300 660 068 family-drug-gambling-help

inTouch Multicultural Centre Against Family Violence

For women and children from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds who are victims/survivors of domestic violence. Interpreter services are available.


1800 755 988 or (03) 9413 6500

Mon–Fri: 9am – 5pm

Maternal and Child Health Line

Available to Victorian families with children from birth to school age. Provides information, support and guidance regarding child health, nutrition, breast-feeding, maternal and family health and parenting.


13 22 29 health/serviceprofiles/maternal-and-child-health-line-service


Provides a telephone, counselling, advisory and information service for parents and carers with children aged up to 18 years.


13 22 89

Mon–Fri: 8am – 12am parentline

Safe Steps Family Violence Response Centre

Provides crisis telephone support, information and referral to safe accommodation (refuge) for women experiencing violence and abuse in their relationships.

Web chat service is also available.


1800 015 188 or (03) 9928 9600

*Web chat available Mon–Fri: 9am – 9pm (excluding public holidays)

Sexual Assault Crisis Line

An after-hours, confidential, telephone crisis counselling service for victim/ survivors of both past and recent sexual assault.


1800 806 292

During business hours you will be directed to your local Centre Against Sexual Assault.

Crisis Line operates from 5pm – 9am.


For people who are feeling suicidal or who are concerned about another person who may be suicidal. Also for people who are grieving or emotionally affected after a suicide.

Online chat and video chat services are also available.


1300 651 251

Wire Women’s Support Line

Provides support, information and referrals to women on any issues, such as: family relationships and legal issues; domestic/family violence; housing and homelessness; emotional wellbeing; mental health – anxiety, fear, stress and depression; and job search, study options and community volunteering.


1300 134 130

Mon–Fri: 9am – 5pm (excludes public holidays and days between Christmas and New Year)

Chat service available: 9am – 4.30pm

YoDAA – Youth Drug and Alcohol Advice Service

Provides information, counselling and referrals for young people, families, youth workers and school staff affected by drug and alcohol use.


1800 458 685

Online chat service for young people: youth?site=youth

Mon–Fri: 9am – 8pm


Mental health and social connection

With Coronavirus (COVID-19) being the main focus of the media, our social media feeds and conversation within our community, it’s normal to feel anxious or overwhelmed about what this means for you and we can all be affected differently. Just know that there is help available.

Head to Health COVID-19 support

A great place to start is the Department of Health's Head to Health website. This page contains trusted information and digital supports to help support everyone's mental health and wellbeing during this pandemic. This page covers where to get the facts about the COVID-19 outbreak, tips for maintaining good mental health, information on how to access mental health services, information for parents, and how to keep older Australians safe and connected by helping them get established online.

Click here to visit the Head to Health website


Headspace have provided a useful resource page on their website about how to maintain a healthy headspace and manage any changes to daily life as a result of containment measures for COVID-19.

Click here to visit the Headspace website

eheadspace also provides free online and telephone support and counselling to young people 12 - 25 and their families and friends. If you’re based in Australia and going through a tough time, eheadspace can help.

Click here to visit the eHeadspace website

Beyond Blue

Beyond Blue have created a online community forum for coping during the Coronavirus outbreak. This is a free online forum where you can chat to others, get support and explore wellbeing during this time. Beyond Blue have information and resources regarding wellbeing and mental health. They also have free online chat, email and support line - 1300 22 4636.

Click here to visit the Beyond Blue website

Kids HelpLine

Kids Helpline is Australia’s free, private and confidential 24/7 phone and online counselling service for young people aged 5 to 25.

If you need to speak to a counsellor, call 1800 55 1800, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Click here to visit the Kids HelpLine website


healthAbility is your local community health service providing counseling, both in person or via telehealth (phone or video call). As a community health service, healthAbility ensures equitable access to services for all people in our community regardless of their financial situation. Available also is the LIFT mental health Stepped model of care and the After Hours Mental Health Nursing Support service (located at 36 Wellington Road Box Hill) at no cost.

Click here to visit the healthAbility website or call 9430 9100.

Social connection

Would you like opportunities to socially connect with others?  Do you have ideas about what you would like to do to feel connected to your local community? Would you like to know more about what social opportunities are available in Nillumbik? Council has a new service which can assist; Social Connections officer – 9433 3148 or

Community activation and social connector

Are you feeling lonely, socially isolated and/or need help or assistance during this time of COVID-19 for eg. food relief? Council can help connect and link you into appropriate local organisations for support. Contact 1800 657 398 or 9433 3144 or 

Mask distribution for vulnerable community members

Nillumbik Council is now distributing face masks to vulnerable community members. Mask allocation is based on individual eligibility criteria.

Nillumbik community members who will be eligible for reusable face masks will include:

  • people over the age of 12 years who are being actively managed for the following chronic conditions:
    • poor immunity
    • heart disease, diabetes, and stroke
    • obesity
    • chronic lung disease
    • alcohol and drug dependency
    • frailty
  • people living in public housing and in crisis accommodation or who are homeless
  • people living in boarding houses and SRS facilities
  • people living with disability
  • people with other needs including alcohol and drug issues, mental health conditions, young people in residential facilities, and those receiving other health and human services
  • young people with health and/or social issues that make them vulnerable
  • young people living in mandatory facilities
  • Aboriginal people
  • refugees and asylum seekers

If you, or someone you know who is vulnerable and unable to access face masks, please contact our Community Activation and Social Connections Officer, Matilda, on 9433 3144 or email

Child care during COVID-19

There is a national toll-free helpline available for those looking for child care during COVID-19.

ACECQA has established the helpline to support families, including essential workers and those with vulnerable children. Find more information via the ACEQA website.

Families can call the helpline on 1800 291 041 from 9am to 5pm (AEST), Monday to Friday (excluding public holidays). 


Information and support for people with disability

For information, resources and support for people with disability during COVID-19, including:

  • Disability-specific resources, organisations and contacts
  • Telehealth information
  • Pharmacy delivery - free Home Medicine Service via Australia Post
  • Information about shopping delivery services, supporting people with disability and older residents with limited mobility

and more.. visit the COVID-19 Information for people with disability page.


Contacting us 

The Nillumbik Disability Inclusion network shares news of local events, activities and opportunities of interest to people with disability, carers and disability advocates in the Nillumbik community.

To join the network or to notify the Disability Inclusion Network about local support initiatives:

Extreme hardship support program

Who is this program for?

The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) is commissioning the Red Cross to deliver an Extreme Hardship Support Program to provide financial assistance, information and referrals to people living in Victoria who are experiencing significant hardship as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and are unable to access other forms of Victorian Government and Commonwealth Government income support. 

The program is targeted to support the most vulnerable in our community –  including temporary and provisional visa holders and undocumented migrants with little or no income, savings or community support.

What support is being provided?

  • Assistance provided will primarily be in the form of cash payments, available from 13 July 2020. 
  • A single person can receive up to $400. Families may receive more, based on the number of people in the family and individual circumstances. 

  • Applicants may be able to apply for another payment after two months if they are still experiencing financial hardship.

Who is eligible?

Applicants must:

  • live in Victoria, and
  • be unable to access Commonwealth income support (such as JobKeeper or JobSeeker) or the International Student Emergency Relief Fund, and
  • have zero or very limited income, savings or community support, and
  • be a temporary or provisional visa holder, or undocumented migrant.

How do people apply?

To apply for emergency financial assistance people should go to the Red Cross website at Applicants will need their passport and bank statements showing transactions for the last three months.  


Family violence during emergencies

Experiencing family violence in emergencies (COVID-19)

We know that family violence reports, incidents and police call outs increase during periods of emergency.

Family violence can occur for the first time during and after emergencies. It can also escalate and continue in cases where violence already occurs within the home.

COVID-19 specific risks

Being forced to share space with perpetrators for extended periods of time with external stressors, including: anxiety arising from the state of flux, financial uncertainty (e.g. job losses in the wake of COVID-19), food insecurity (fuelled by panic shopping), restlessness from changed daily habits and reduced social interaction, could lead to a spike in family violence (Respect Victoria).

Other countries where the virus has caused significant disruption have reported increased cases of family violence. This is consistent with other emergencies.

Stage 4 update 

You are allowed to leave home to escape family violence during stage 4 restrictions. During stage 4 restrictions, you are allowed to leave your home if you or your children are at risk of harm from family violence.

For help or support, call The Orange Door on 1800 319 355 9am – 5pm Monday to Friday

Or call Safe Steps on 1800 015 188 available 24 hours 7 days a week

If you can’t call, or prefer not to, you can connect with Safe Steps through live web chat on weekdays between 9am-9pm at

If you or someone you care about is experiencing family violence and speaks limited or no English, all services can arrange to speak to you with the help of a telephone interpreter.

What does family violence look like?

Family violence can take many forms, including: physical, sexual (including within a relationship), threats, name calling, controlling contact with others, limiting or denying access to money, threatening or hurting pets, or children witnessing abuse.

If you are in danger call 000

For a list of all family violence services please visit the Family Violence Resources page

Supporting older Australians

If you are concerned about meeting your basic needs during social isolation:

  • Telehealth appointments are available where you can receive medical advice from your healthcare professional via video or phone, rather than attending in person. There will be some conditions where this is suitable, and there will be others that require physically presenting at the clinic. Call your GP to see if this is a suitable option for your health care needs, and have your Medicare card on hand.
  • Free pharmacy monthly delivery service through the Home Medicines Service for PBS and RPBS prescriptions. Contact your pharmacy to find out more.
  • See above ‘Nillumbik Disability Inclusion Network – Services Information’ for more detail on local and Shire wide shopping delivery services
  • Fortnightly Ageing Well in Nillumbik newsletters 
  • If you want to have a friendly chat with someone over the phone, FriendLine is a national support service ready for a cuppa and a conversation- available for free for anyone who needs to reconnect or just wants a chat. Call and speak with a friendly volunteer on 1800 424 287 between 6-8pm Tuesday to Thursday, 2-5pm on weekends

If the above options are not suitable for you – please contact Council on 9433 3138 and we will try to connect you with the support or service that you require.

Contact Nillumbik's Positive Ageing Officer for more information, to receive regular updates through the Ageing Well in Nillumbik newsletter or to share your experiences as an older person by emailing, or calling 0437 676 617.

Protecting older Australians 

Older people, who might already be isolated and or rely on a trusted family member for all their support needs may be at increased risk of elder abuse during this time of crisis.

Older people are now asked to stay at home, and to self-isolate. Whilst many older people are well connected to peers and social networks via technology, there are others who have limited social support networks, and may subsequently become even more reliant on family members who may be also experiencing their own financial and other stressors exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

If you, or someone you know is experiencing elder abuse or have concerns about this, please contact Seniors Rights Victoria’s free, confidential Helpline: 1300 368 821 available 10am-5pm Monday-Friday.

Council services during COVID-19

Community transport

Are you an older adult who is requiring assistance with transport? Do you need support travelling to your health related appointments or to access the shops for essential shopping? Council can help! Contact 9433 3723 or

Navigating the aged care system

Do you or someone you know need assistance with understanding what supports/services are be available for older adults in Nillumbik? Council has a new service which can assist; Aged care Navigation and Advocacy officer: 9433 3138 or  

Social connection

Would you like opportunities to socially connect with others?  Do you have ideas about what you would like to do to feel connected to your local community? Would you like to know more about what social opportunities are available in Nillumbik? Council has a new service which can assist; Social Connections officer – 9433 3148 or

Community activation and social connector

Are you feeling lonely, socially isolated and/or need help or assistance during this time of COVID-19 for eg. food relief? Council can help connect and link you into appropriate local organisations for support. Contact 1800 657 398 or 9433 3144 or

Job opportunities - Working for Victoria

People whose employment status has been affected by Coronavirus (COVID-19) are invited to register their details on the Working for Victoria website to access new work opportunities.

The Working for Victoria initiative is part of the Victorian Government’s $1.7 billion Economic Survival Package. It is designed to connect workers with new opportunities that will help our community and contribute to Victoria’s ability to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Those eligible to apply can apply their skills to new roles or take up training opportunities for specific roles. At the same time, organisations and employers looking for workers can find experienced and screened staff who are ready to work.

Nillumbik Shire Council is in the process of applying for a number of positions for short-term staff, fully funded by the State Government.

If our application for this funding is successful, our preference will be to place local people in these roles - so we need local people to register!

To find out more, visit the Working for Victoria website to register and apply.

Supporting community groups in Nillumbik

Community Development Officers are available at Council to support community groups with the sharing of information, resources, advice and training as required.  

Community Training Program

The Nillumbik Shire Council Community Training is a series of free workshops presented over the year for individuals, community groups, clubs and not-for profit organisations in Nillumbik who provide activities, programs and services in Nillumbik.

If you are a volunteer, work for a not-for-profit community group or are interested in starting or joining a group, such as a local club or committee this program will be suitable for you.

The workshops provide opportunities for individuals and volunteers of local not-for profit community groups to build their capacity and develop new skills, as well as meet and network with other community groups throughout Nillumbik.

Find out more about the Community Training Program, view upcoming sessions and register online here

For further information or support please email or contact Anna Maio on 9433 3186. 

Supporting artists in the time of COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted us all, and disrupted the connections and interactions that are integral to everyday life and the pursuit of arts and cultural activities.

The arts sector has been amongst the hardest hit by the rapid economic shutdowns and important social distancing measures put in place to mitigate these extremely challenging circumstances.

In response to this, Council released a series of ‘In the Time of COVID-19' employment opportunities for artists aimed at engaging artists in doing what they do best - responding to the world around them.

Visit the Art in the Time of COVID-19 page to find out more about where, when and how you can view these artworks.

For current employment and grant opportunities available to artists, visit the Artist Opportunities page.


Other support services

Thank you to Yarra Plenty Regional Library who have put together this comprehensive list of community health and support services:

Organisation Services Contact Hours
Whittlesea Community Connections Assistance: Food hampers, material aid, financial support and bill support. 9401 6644

9am – 1pm

Monday – Friday

Encompass Care Vic Food hampers and material aid 0400 465 207

9am – 1pm

Monday – Friday

St. Vincent De Paul Food hampers, material aid, financial support and bill support. 1800 305 330

10am – 3pm

Monday – Friday

Catholic Care Food vouchers, material aid, financial support and bill support. 8468 1305

9am – 5pm

Monday – Friday

Infinity Church
(Community Meals Kitchen)
Food hampers 0409 354 633

9am – 5pm

Monday & Tuesday

Mill Park Baptist - THE SHAK Meals - Drive through pick up 0400 072 933

9am – 5pm

Monday – Wednesday

Salvation Army Food hampers, material aid, financial support and bill support. 9436 9200

9am – 3pm

Tuesday – Thursday

Victorian Child Care Cooperative Ltd
Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander
Food vouchers, material aid and bill support. 9287 8800

9am – 5pm

Monday – Friday

Country Wide Community Missions Food hampers 0411 394 494

1pm – 5pm (Wed)

9am (Thurs)

From Us 2 You Food hampers 0412 042 069

9am – 3pm

Monday – Friday

Haven Home Safe
(North Eastern Melbourne)
Homelessness support/crisis accommodation and low-income housing assistance 9479 0700 9am – 5pm
Monday – Friday
Orange Door
(North Eastern Melbourne)
Support service for women, children and young people who are experiencing or have experienced family violence and families who need extra support with the care of children. 1800 319 355(free call)

9am – 5pm

Monday– Friday

Safe Steps Victoria's statewide response centre for women, transgender women, young people and children experiencing family violence. 1800 015 188(free call) 24 hours a day 7 days a week including Public Holidays
In Touch Support for refugee and migrant women who are experiencing of have experiencing or have experienced family violence.(Bilingual workers and interpreters available) 1800 755 988(free call)

9am – 5pm

Monday to Friday

MensLine Australia Victorian statewide support service for men and transgender men with family and relationship concerns or who are experiencing or have experienced family violence. 1300 789 978 (free call) 24 hours a day 7 days a week including Public Holidays
QLIFE Support service for LGBTQI who are experiencing or have experienced family or domestic violence or having relationship concerns. 1800 184 527(free call) 3pm – midnight 7 days a week including Public Holidays
Djirra Support service for Aboriginal people who are experiencing family violence or have in the past. 1800 105 303 (free call)

9am – 5pm

Monday– Friday

Red Cross Provides a broad range of support services to community including: Migrant & Refugee support; Indigenous & Torres Strait Islander support; Emergency Relief; Homelessness and Mental Health Support. 1800 733 276(free call)

9am – 5pm

Monday– Friday

Red Cross (Emergency Relief) Providing emergency relief packages from the Victorian Government. These packages contain a two-week supply of food and essential items. 1800 675 398(free call)
Red Cross (Emergency Relief) Assistance from the Victorian Government to help individuals affected by coronavirus. Visitthe wesbite
Asylum Seeker Resource Centre Asylum Seeker Support Service 9326 6066

10am – 5pm

Monday– Friday

Life Line Provides 24/7 crisis support and suicide prevention services 13 11 14 24 hours a day, 7 days a week including Public Holidays
Beyond Blue Mental health support service 1300 224 636(free call) 24 hours a day, 7 days a week including Public Holidays
Kids Helpline Telephone and counselling support service for young people aged between 5-25 1800 551 800(free call) 24 hours a day, 7 days a week including Public Holidays
ChildFirst Linking children and families to services. 9705 3939
Northern Centre Against Sexual Assault Support service for women, men and young people over the age of 12 who have experienced sexual assault (past or recent) and their non-offending family and friends.

9496 2240

After hours: 1800 806 292(free call)

9am – 5pm

Monday– Friday

Centre Against Sexual Assault Support for people who have been sexually assaulted 1800 806 292(free call) 24 hours
Multicultural Centre Against Family Violence Support for immigrant women. Help in non-English languages 1800 755 988

8am – 8.30pm

Monday– Friday

RESPECT Support for family violence and sexual assault. 1800 737 732 (24 hours) (24 hours)
Aboriginal Family Domestic Violence Hotline 1800 019 123(free call)

9am – 5pm

Monday – Friday

Men's Referral Service Advice for men. Confidential help for men wanting to stop abuse. 1300 766 491

8am – 8.30pm

Monday to Friday

Kildonan Financial Counselling Supports people on low incomes and those experiencing financial difficulties to achieve financial security and independence. 1800 002 992(free call)

9am – 5pm

Monday – Friday


Government Service which provides financial support to Australians who face financial hardship.

Families: 136 150
Indigenous Australians: 1800 136 380
Job Seekers: 132 850
Rural & Remote Australians: 132 318
Languages(Multilingual): 131 202
Older Australians: 132 300
Students and Trainees: 1800 132 317
People with disability: 132 717

Emergency: 132 850
National Debt Hotline Financial support and advice 1800 007 007 (free call)

9.30am – 4.30pm

Monday– Friday

Financial Counselling Program Free and confidential financial counselling service for anyone experiencing financial difficulties. 1800 685 682
Legal Aid Provides free information and legal advice. 1300 792 387

9am – 5pm

Monday– Friday

Whittlesea Community Connections
(Legal assistance)
For anyone needing free legal assistance. 9401 6655

9am – 5pm

Monday – Friday