Bendigo Community Health Services has launched a free Coronavirus telephone hotline to further support the Karen community in Bendigo.

Karen speaking guides and case workers from the BCHS Settlement Services team will run the free Coronavirus Hotline Monday to Friday from 1pm to 4.30pm.

People can call 5406 1254 or call/send a text message to 0437 418 984.

If you are on a pre-paid mobile phone plan it's okay, we will ring you straight back.

BCHS Community Engagement manager Rod Case said the hotline initiative was in response to a rise in Coronavirus concerns and questions from the Karen community and the need to ensure important information was fully understood.

The hotline further enhanced the #BendigoTogether campaign launched with Believe In Bendigo to support the Karen community after reports of Coronavirus abuse and taunts.  

"Our Settlement Services team is seeing an increase in concern and questions from the Karen community around the Coronavirus," Mr Case said.

"The Coronavirus hotline will take on a Karen focus because there are now more than 3000 members of that community in Bendigo but BCHS is providing support to Dari and Dinka speaking refugees too through our online Coronavirus Bendigo Refugee Resource Hub.

"The resource hub on our website has now had more than 5200 visits. We launched this hub back in early March when we first saw a real need for Coronavirus information to support the refugee communities and now there's 15 information sheets and 20 videos translated into Karen, Dari and Dinka language available. 

"The response has been amazing reaching more than 72,000 people on social media with 14,670 views of the videos and 2262 downloads of information sheets. It's clear this hub is having an impact in helping stop the spread of Coronavirus but while we have been really pleased with the support for the hub, the message from the refugee communities is clear they want someone to talk with about their concerns and questions too and that's why we're launching this free Coronavirus hotline.  

"When people ring the hotline there will be a familiar voice on the other end of the line providing the right answers and information to put their minds at ease around Coronavirus and how to keep their families safe. If you have a pre-paid phone plan and are worried about the cost it's okay - we will ring you straight back to help you out."

Mr Case said BCHS was proud of the work done to support refugee communities around Coronavirus. 

"Some of this work has led the way across the state and we'd like to think has done a lot to help people from the Karen, Afghan and South Sudanese communities during this very troubling time," Mr Case said.

"It's wonderful to see other health agencies and organisations now using this work and information to support their refugee clients and we're really proud of that too."

To access the Coronavirus refugee hotline call 5406 1254 or call/send a text message to 0437 418 984 between 1pm and 4.30pm Monday to Thursday.

To access the online Coronavirus Bendigo Refugee Resource Hub use this link: Click or tap if you trust this link.">

To access more information about what Bendigo Community Health Services has been doing to support refugee communities during the Coronavirus time   pdf click here (233 KB)


Last updated: July 14, 2020