A new group has formed on the Mid North Coast region to offer people a point of connection to others in light of the coronavirus outbreak.
Taree resident Heidi Fowler is the founder of the Facebook group Midcoast Self-Isolation Lend-a-Hand Network. She formed it as she wanted to the community to band together during what can be an anxious, isolating and lonely time for people.
The group aims to provide factual and accurate information to support those that may have to self-isolate due to health conditions, or potentially quarantine if they have contracted the coronavirus.
Heidi said she also wanted to 'turn the tide' on all the negativity surrounding how people are acting after the coronavirus outbreak, including people who are fighting over toilet paper and taking more than they need from the grocery stores.
This behaviour, Heidi said is in extreme contrast to when the community banded together recently amid the region's bushfire crisis.
Since the group's establishment, it gained over 900 members in a short period of time.
Residents from across the Mid North Coast, including Port Macquarie, are posting on the group's Facebook page to offer their help if needed.
The group can provide a place for connection for people who are already self-isolating and might be feeling a bit lonely.
In other cases people might post asking if anyone could lend a hand to help an elderly person who lives alone.
However the admins of the group are stressing people protect themselves and their health first and secondly, protect the people they are assisting.
Ultimately, Heidi said it's up to community members to act appropriately on the social media page and to take ownership of the group themselves.
Heidi is grateful to the group's admin team who reached out to her when she first formed the community hub.
The aim of the group is to create awareness for community connection and Heidi hopes similar groups will form in other locations within the region.
For more information about the virus, please visit https://www.health.nsw.gov.au
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