New look, new staff and new opportunities
Since its inception, Connected AU's been working hard to bring people together.
What started as an effort to keep people united and together through tough times and became a way for people in need to reach out is still going strong, and becoming even stronger in recent months.
The Letterbox Project, which garnered national media coverage for the efforts of Mea Campbell in helping vulnerable people stay connected throughout the COVID-19 lockdown is now stronger than ever thanks to the support of major sponsor Tetley Tea.
With the support of Peta Simpson, a local web designer and graphic designer Emma Barrett, the venture is more efficient and has a fresh new style, but further hires like an administrations officer and partnerships with some far-flung LGAs have the organisation aiming higher than ever before.
"We've rebuilt our hobby groups and relaunched those; they let people who can get online but don't have anyone to connect with to join in," Ms Campbell said.
Examples include gardening groups for sharing greenthumb experiences and a book club that people can subscribe to via a small membership fee.
The venture is in part funded by individual subscriptions, but one of the most exciting additions to the lineup of services and programs offered is the new council packages.
"We've just launched the council packages, through that council can purchase a package and all their residents get access to all the hobby groups, which is very cool, but they'll also get their own local, personalised letterbox project, where they can write to places like a nursing home in their own town or city," Ms Campbell said.
At present, Kingston City Council in Victoria have signed onto the program, which also provides a number of mental health benefits such as detailed statistics and quarterly reports that the council can act on.
"They've got about 200,000 residents in their LGA, so that's very exciting," Ms Campbell said.
"We're looking to slowly expand and add other councils as we can at the moment."