As Australians and New Zealanders continue to adjust to living and working in social isolation, the adaptability and resiliency of our communities are becoming increasingly important. We want to continue to be part of the solution by being the bridge to support the Australian and New Zealand Governments, communities and small businesses through to the other side of this crisis. We have previously shared updates on our response to COVID-19 on 10 March, 23 March, 30 March and 3 April.
We wanted to share a further update on the work we are doing to connect people with well-being and mental health services, support vulnerable communities, assist Facebook Group admins, and build up the digital skills of small business professionals.
Connecting people with well-being and mental health services
We recently launched the Covid-19 Information Centre across Facebook. This dedicated space helps elevate official information and provides advice and tips from authoritative Facebook Pages. To ensure people have access to locally relevant information, we are featuring detailed information to access mental health and crisis helplines. In Australia, Lifeline, Kids Help Line, Beyond Blue, and Headspace, and in New Zealand, Lifeline & Youthline and 1737 Need to Talk all feature in the Covid-19 Information Centre.
Facebook Covid-19 Information Centre
We understand that some communities are more vulnerable at this time and so we have prioritised additional support to organisations providing direct assistance services and prevention information to minimise risk. We have focussed our efforts on providing campaign funding and support to a range of Indigenous health services and family violence services at this time.
In Australia, this includes the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NAACHO), the national peak body of Aboriginal Medical Health Services across Australia, which is working with local services to develop in-language and culturally relevant health information for Indigenous communities. It also includes WESTNET, 1800 RESPECT, and Our Watch to promote their messaging campaigns on our services to connect to vulnerable Australians who may be experiencing family violence at this time.
In New Zealand, this includes Te Rōpu Whakakaupapa Urutā – the National Māori Pandemic Response Group, to promote their messaging campaigns on our services. We are also working with domestic violence organisations, Women’s Refuge and She Is Not Your Rehab to promote their messaging campaigns on our services to connect to vulnerable Kiwis who may need their help.
And we have joined the group of organisations supporting the Student Volunteer Army in their amazing efforts to support healthcare workers and people in need through the lockdown.
A virtual summit for community leaders — Community Connect: Navigating COVID-19
In this time of social distancing, more people are turning to Facebook groups to connect with their local communities and the things they care about. We want to ensure that we’re supporting Group Admins with the tools they need to manage engaged and healthy communities. On Wednesday 22 April, we hosted a Community Connect: Navigating COVID-19, a global, digital education event, giving Community Leaders using Facebook the opportunity to learn and strengthen their work. Through this event, we featured Australian Group, The Kindness Pandemic, established by Catherine Barrett from Victoria, which is now a community of over 500,000 Australians who share and celebrate acts of kindness and giving across the country when social isolation keeps people in their homes.
Boost with Facebook – A new online learning destination for small business
Over the last 18 months, we have been delivering our Boost with Facebook program, providing free training to improve the digital skills of more than 16,000 small business owners across Australia and New Zealand. Building on the success of our Boost with Facebook program, we are taking this free digital education program online, direct to people in the comfort of their own homes. Through our new Boost with Facebook Australia Group and Boost with Facebook Aotearoa New Zealand Group, small businesses and community leaders alike will have access to:
- Free education – Through weekly Facebook Live workshops on how to build a business on Facebook and Instagram, best practice case studies, personalised Blueprint Learning pathways to continue your online learning journey in your own time.
- Industry expertise – The Group is a place to learn from the Facebook Community Trainers, equipped with best practice education from Facebook and specialists from across the Facebook team.
- Community building – Building on the power of Groups across Facebook, this will be a new place where small business owners can connect with each other, learn together, and support a resilient local economy in Australia and New Zealand.