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How to support Melbourne locals during the current lockdowns

We’ve put together a list of ways to help the wider community and volunteer in Melbourne right now

Rebecca Russo
Written by
Rebecca Russo
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It’s hard not to feel helpless right now. Now, that helplessness is coupled with fear and sadness, mostly for all the local businesses that are struggling to stay afloat now that Melbourne is back in another lockdown.

A lot of people are wondering how they can help right now – help restaurants and bars that have lost trade, help those at home without friends or family or help those valiant health workers who are risking everything to keep us all safe. 

This is by no means an exhaustive list of ways to help, but it’s a start. If you know of another way to help out those in need, please email us.

RECOMMENDED: What you can and can't do in Victoria right now.

Ways to help and volunteer in Melbourne

Yes, please, stay home. The more we limit physical interaction between us, the quicker this thing will be over. If you're able to work from home, you should only leave your house for absolutely essential trips, like going grocery shopping or going to the pharmacy. Connect with your friends and family online or over the phone so that you can see them online. Or click through to find a bunch of fun things you can do at home right now.

Get vaccinated
Photograph: Steven Cornfield/Unsplash

Get vaccinated

If you are currently eligible for the vaccine, please book in for your shot. Our best defence against this virus and another lockdown is more people getting the vaccine. To check if you are eligible for the vaccine, head here. If you'd like to book in a shot, head here

Anyone over the age of 18 in Australia can get the safe and effective AstraZeneca vaccination, even if they're otherwise ineligible under the current rollout phase. You'll need to speak with a GP first to determine if it's the right choice for you. 

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Donate blood
Image: Emoji One

Donate blood

Blood and plasma donations are vital in this time so Australian Red Cross Lifeblood is still seeking blood donations. If you are healthy and well, it's encouraged you book an appointment when it is safe to do so. It may seem counterintuitive to leave your house to do this, but please keep in mind donor centres are strictly regulated and sanitised spaces. Plus, donating blood is an essential act of caregiving which means it is exempt from the 5km travel limit. You can read about the measures donor centres are undertaking during the pandemic and book in a spot here.

Reach out to your neighbours
Image: Emoji One

Reach out to your neighbours

Even though we're physically apart, it almost feels as if we're closer to people more than ever. We're seeing many people reaching out to their neighbours in an effort to show solidarity and offer support during this time of need.

Pop a letter in your neighbours' letterbox explaining who you are, where you live, and if they need any assistance right now. Give them your phone number so they can call or message you if they're out of loo paper or need someone to buy them vital supplies if they're less mobile or if they're self-isolating. You can also join a local "buy swap sell" group for your suburb on Facebook and see if anyone locally needs some support. Someone might be searching for a desk chair to loan while work from home or they might need someone to help them find long-life milk when all the supermarket shelves are empty. These acts of kindness will be invaluable for people in need. 

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The government has announced closures of restaurants and bars, but takeaway and delivery services are still currently available. Click through to read a thorough list of Melbourne restaurants and bars still able to offer you food from their menus, rescue packs and even produce boxes that can get you through these tough times.

Buy a gift card
Photograph: Aaron White

Buy a gift card

If you have the means, buying a gift card to a Melbourne venue is a great way to immediately help out a struggling business. Gift cards usually last a number of years, so there's plenty of time to use it – plus it's always great to have something to look forward to! We suggest buying a gift card from some of our favourite Melbourne restaurants or even for an entertainment venue like Holey Moley or a spa like Sense of Self.

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Enjoy the arts online
Photograph: Supplied

Enjoy the arts online

Everyone has been hurt by the pandemic, but the arts and live performance industries have been given a particularly bad whalloping. But many oganisations have pivoted online; for example you can enjoy concerts from the MSO via MSO.Live, watch films via Lido, Classic and Cameo cinemas' streaming services, and you can stream Victorian Opera's production of Parrwang Lifts the Sky online too.

Donate to the ASRC
Photograph: ASRC/Supplied

Donate to the ASRC

The Asylum Seeker Resource Centre looks after those people seeking asylum, who often have no income or government support. For them, the ASRC is their only avenue to food, shelter and medical care. You can donate money or goods now to help out these struggling Melburnians. More info here.

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Support the farmers

If you don’t want to brave the supermarkets, there are a few good grocery and meal delivery services available that still help Aussie farmers. For example, YourGrocer sources produce and groceries from local markets (like Prahran and Queen Victoria) as well as independent grocers. They even do same-day delivery. Here are more grocery delivery services in Melbourne to try. 

Donate to Foodbank
Photograph: iStock

Donate to Foodbank

Foodbank is the country's largest food relief organisation. It provides essential food and grocery items to those in crisis all over Victoria. You can donate money to the organisation (every $1 donation allows them to provide two meals to someone in need) or you can donate food. Here's some more information about donating at Foodbank.

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While we play our part and do our best to stay home, there is a way to support those regional Victorian businesses that are struggling with trade right now. It’s called Click for Vic, and it’s the Victorian government’s online platform showcasing businesses from all over Victoria. The platform has a variety of wares you can browse,  from Mount Zero Olives in the Grampians to bottles of gin from Echuca Distillery up near the Murray, craft beers from Sailors Grave Brewing out east in Gippsland and even skincare products from Olieve & Olie in the Mornington Peninsula.

Staying in?

  • Things to do

We've collected the best ways for you to experience Melbourne while staying at home here into this hub, so you can stay sane, comfortable, fed, watered and entertained at home – while helping small business owners, hospitality workers and creative people who desperately need your business.

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