Tocumwal Helping Hands Group out to lend a hand

By Daniel Hughes

Members of the Southern Riverina Community who have been impacted by Coronavirus restrictions, and the more recent related border closures, are reminded there is a group of locals there to offer support.

Leanne Waldron is just one of the locals providing support through the Tocumwal Helping Hands group, established in response to the pandemic earlier this year.

Like many others, Mrs Waldron is directly impacted by the evolving suite of measures being places on people in the effort to stem the spread of the illness.

But she said she can’t let that get on top of her, because there are members of the community who need volunteers help.

“There's so much uncertainty at the moment, and many services the elderly in our town utilise are no longer available,” Mrs Waldron said.

“The closure of the border has made it harder for many elderly residents who are patients in a Victorian medical service to travel.

“Not only that, but volunteers who provided the transportation are also at risk and can no longer drive people to appointments.

“We have many people who can't access banking or who need help setting up online banking services. It is really hard for these people, including many families, who have been hit hard by business and border closures.

“We have put out flyers around the town, because we want to make sure everyone knows that if someone needs help, to contact us and we will see what we can do.”

Mrs Waldron said government representatives making the rules on restrictions and border closures have "no idea how much New South Wales border residents rely on Victorian health services".

“There simply aren't the health services located in New South Wales within driving range compared closer services just across the border.

“Personally, we are nearly half way through treatment in getting braces for our daughter Taylor.

“We have to travel to Goulburn Valley Orthodontists. We need to take her and can't go anywhere else.”

Mrs Waldron said she can also provide advice to locals on the permit processing, having gone through the application process herself.

She has personally needed a special permit to be able to continue in her job as an education support officer at St Joseph's Primary School in Cobram.

However, as today, all Victorian schools are converting to home learning so her daughter will not travel between Tocumwal and St Mary of the Angels Secondary College, Nathalia.

“I haven't had any problems so far crossing the border, which has been good.

“My daughter will no longer need to travel over the border, but I am still required to for work.

“There's currently so much uncertainty with what will happen as the weeks progress but if anyone needs it, Tocumwal Helping Hands members are more than happy to help.”

If you need support from the Tocumwal Helping Hands group, please phone Mrs Waldron on 0431 023 883.

Members of the community who can help provide support as a volunteer are also asked to get in contact.