A message from our CEO Paul Kelly

Firstly, I want to acknowledge the difficulties that everyone is experiencing during this time. We understand that there is stress and uncertainty within families and communities and we are doing our best to keep our teams and our customers informed as the global COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic develops.

We want to share the following updates regarding our services and operations due to the impacts cause by COVID-19.

We are taking the pandemic seriously to ensure the safety of our staff, our customers and our broader community. We are rapidly evolving our service delivery and working practises to maintain safe and sustainable customer service. The following updates are below.

In relation to our broader organisational safety and work practices:

Due to the ongoing impacts of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) CHESS Connect is providing alternative servicing arrangements to our customers. To ensure the safety of our staff and our customers we are providing virtual appointments via phone or video conferencing.

As of Friday 26th March 2020 our office sites are not facilitating face to face appointments or enquiries unless required by exceptional circumstances.

We are still welcoming new customers at this time. Members of the community who want to enquire about our services are welcome to do so by visiting our website www.chessconnect.org.au and filling in an enquiry for form or calling 1800 899 017 during business hours.

We thank everyone in advance for their understanding and ongoing patience as we navigate the shifting landscape of COVID-19 and its impacts on our community.

A statement from each of our services.

Disability Employment and Youth Employment services:

All face to face appointment and enquiries with our jobseekers and employers will now be done via phone or video conferencing, unless required by exceptional circumstances. Our Disability Employment Service is committed to supporting our customers, During this time our staff will continue to engage with jobseekers and employers in the community via alternative, virtual communication arrangements. Although our sites are not facilitating face to face appointments and enquiries, we are ready and able to take enquiries from new customers.

Our Youth Employment program Smart, Skilled and Hired is not taking in any new participants at this point in time, but will continue to provide service to existing young jobseekers and employers using our service via alternative communication arrangements.

Our staff are actively advising our current customers of this change.

In relation to our NDIS and mental health (PCoS) services:

Our NDIS and mental health support workers are playing an important role in helping vulnerable people within our community accept and understand current events. CHESS Connect is doing everything it can to follow government health advice on how to safely deliver services to people living with disability and mental ill health.

Our outreach staff who are delivering direct, face to face services are conducting health screening questionnaires prior to their appointments, adhering to strict hygiene practices, practicing social distancing as appropriate and avoiding group activities and gathering places.

We are also implementing alternative virtual supports for our staff and our customers where we can. We are in open conversation with our clients, their families and carers on the developing situation with COVID-19 and how to keep everyone involved in our service safe. We are accepting and welcoming new customers who can enquire through our alternative communication channels.

The ParentsNext program:

All face to face appointments have been suspended and phone appointments now take their place. This includes initial appointments with new customers. Participants are actively being contacted by their mentors regarding this change.

All group activities are suspended, but we are still encouraging online activities such as online learning and training for our participants.

Our ParentsNext mentors will still be available to support and encourage our ParentsNext participants. We will be checking in at least once a month to maintain engagement and provide support to ensure our participants can get the most value from the program during this time of disruption.

Our Mentally Healthy Workplace Workshops

All upcoming Mentally Healthy Workplace Workshops have been rescheduled. We are currently working on providing free resources for self-care and healthy work from home practices to our local business community. We will also be exploring virtual engagement with our business contacts to provide support and advice during this time of disruption.


Meet the Author

About Paul Kelly
CHESS CEO Paul Kelly is experienced in guiding member owned organisations during periods of industry change and consolidation. His focus for CHESS is on developing and delivering services to highly disadvantaged people and supporting regional growth and community. In his spare time Paul enjoys spending time with his family and surf-life saving.