As the COVID-19 outbreak continues to affect families, communities and countries around the world, Orange Sky continues to monitor how best to support the health, safety and well being of our friends, volunteers, supporters and staff.
It is with great disappointment that we share the Orange Sky Board, Senior Leadership Team and COVID-19 response team have made the difficult decision to pause shifts in their current form for up to the next three weeks. There is potential for this to be extended based on government advice.
Our remote services in Palm Island, Lockhart River and Maningrida will continue to operate as normal.
We are proud and inspired by our team everyday and are committed to finding innovative ways to keep the most vulnerable people in our community connected over this time. Our volunteers have been doing such an amazing job keeping our friends connected during this difficult time, and this decision was not made lightly. These are challenging times for us all as we come together to fight the spread of COVID-19. Now more than ever, we are reminded about the importance of keeping our community safe, as well as the care and compassion of the people around us. Our main responsibility at this time is to ensure the health, safety and wellbeing of our friends, volunteers, fellow service providers and the general public.
Any future decision about getting our shifts back up and running will be guided by the most up to date and reliable information from the Australian Government. If you have been following us over the last few years, you will know that something like this will not stop us from delivering our mission to positively connect communities. We continue to be incredibly grateful for your support, as we work hard to deliver our mission and support our friends doing it tough.
Orange Sky Headquarters closure:
As COVID-19 continues to challenge our communities, Orange Sky’s leadership team has made the decision to close HQ for three weeks, requesting staff to work from home until Sunday, April 12. We will update our community if any of this information changes.
To all of our wonderful friends who use our service, we are thinking of you at this extremely difficult time. We will back as soon as we can providing free laundry and showers, and most importantly, sitting down for a chat with you on our six orange chairs.
These are challenging times for all of us as we come together to fight the spread of COVID-19. Now more than ever, we are reminded about the importance of keeping our community safe, as well as the care and compassion of the people around us.
The Orange Sky Board, Senior Leadership Team and COVID-19 response team have made the difficult decision to pause shifts in their current form for up to the next three weeks. There is potential for this to be extended based on government advice.
Our remote services in Palm Island, Lockhart River and Maningrida will continue to operate as normal.
We are proud and inspired by our team everyday and are committed to finding innovative ways to keep the most vulnerable people in our community connected over this time.
You have all have been doing such amazing work keeping our friends connected to our shifts, and we hope you know that this decision was not made lightly. Our main responsibility at this time is to ensure the health, safety and well-being of our friends, volunteers, fellow service providers and the general public.
Any future decision about recommencing shifts will be guided by the most up to date and reliable information from the Australian Government. If you’ve been volunteering with us for the last few years or following Orange Sky’s journey, you will know that something like this will not stop us from delivering our mission to positively connect communities.
We also want to send a clear message to our friends – we know this is going to be an incredibly challenging time and we want to assure our community that we will be working everyday to get conversations happening again on our six orange chairs.
We will be keeping our lines of communication open, so please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call Service Support (0488 851 113) if you have any questions or concerns. We understand that these are uncertain times and that you may be feeling heightened levels of concern and anxiety. We’d like to remind you that you are able to access VESP if you have any questions or concerns.
Thank you again for all your support as we navigate this new environment. We will be in touch with more information soon.
In these challenging times, we ask for your trust and support as we face this ever-changing environment. Our mission to positively connect communities is as important as ever right now; we remain focused on ensuring we can deliver our service to friends in safe environments, while playing our part to help ‘flatten the curve’ to slow the speed of transmission. There is much still unknown about the COVID-19 virus. Global experts are working to gain a full understanding about how the virus behaves, transmits and impacts those who are infected. At Orange Sky, we are experts in washing and conversations, so we are relying on expert and up to date knowledge to build recommendations that will support the continuation of as many shifts as possible for our friends. Please find below the latest update, how we are managing our response for Orange Sky and what this means for you.
Volunteer Participation and Attendance on shift
Firstly, as a volunteer with Orange Sky, if you feel concerned about attending shift due to your own personal health, we encourage and support you in making this decision not to attend shift. If you are someone who identifies in a higher risk category as per the government’s guidelines, we recommend you don’t attend shift. Please ensure you are communicating with your Team Leader and Service Leader if you are not able to attend shift. (If you are unsure who to contact, please call Service Support for assistance on 0488 851 113) We understand that shifts will need to be cancelled due to this reason, please know we support this decision. You are still supporting our friends by not attending shift and keeping yourself well to return to volunteering at a later stage.
Shift Operating Decision Framework
We have provided your leadership team with a framework around deciding which shifts are safe to operate in line with current recommendations from trusted health authorities. Shifts will continue to operate if the below measures can be met:
Shift has access to hand-washing facilities (soap & water) or hand sanitiser (over 60% ethanol or 70% alcohol);
Shift has effective disinfectant (bleach) to clean contact surfaces available for use;
Shift environment attracts less than 75 friends, service providers or members of the public (e.g. high pedestrian zone);
Service provider partner is operating for entire shift scheduled time; and
Full volunteer team available in good health (minimum 3).
If you have questions about the suitability of your shift operating, please contact your service leader or service support. We are currently assessing each shift on a time priority basis.
Staying safe on shift
If your shift meets these current requirements, the below control measures should be followed to operate safely:
Do not come to shift if you feel unwell;
Wash hands frequently and thoroughly before, during & after shift;
Wear gloves at all times during shift and change frequently;
Remember to cough or sneeze into your arm or a tissue which you throw away and wash your hands straight after;
Avoid touching your face;
Use disinfectant and a cloth to wipe all contact surfaces during and after shift (follow process below);
Practise 1m physical distance between friends and volunteers;
Do not shake hands or high five volunteers or friends;
Set orange chairs up 1m apart or not at all; and
Encourage all friends to also wash their hands frequently on shift and offer hand sanitiser if available.
If your shift has been cancelled due to the impact of COVID-19 and you are fit to volunteer, please let your Service Leader or Service Support know if you are available to help out on a different shift.
Disinfectant Cleaning Process
A number of reliable and high quality sources were reviewed for the following recommendations. As your safety is our priority, we ask that you implement these as soon as possible.
– Wipe all contact surfaces* with approved disinfectant solution and a disposable cloth;
– Dispose of gloves after use; and
– Put gloves and cloths in a bin which should be disposed of at the end of each shift.
*Contact Surfaces refers to:
Drivers and passengers: When you collect the van, wipe down steering wheel, indicators, door handles, hand brake, seat belt. When you return to base, ensure you repeat this wipe down of all contact points in the van.
After every wash and dry: Spray and wipe down inside the washing machine, the washing machine door handle, baskets, dryer door handles, side door handle.
After every shower: Spray and wipe down all contact points in the shower cubicle including handrails and door handles. When cleaning the showers wear gloves, a mask and protective eyewear (wipe over glasses after use).
Keeping up to date
We are working daily on keeping up to date with the latest recommendations by the government. We are communicating regularly with Service Leaders as things progress. We encourage you to continue to reach out to your local leadership team or Service Support if you have any questions or queries. Orange Sky’s successful response relies on all of us working collaboratively and communicating regularly. Keep an eye on your local team messenger groups and local Facebook page, as well as the website for the most up-to-date information,
As many of you are aware, Coronavirus(often also referred to as COVID-19 and SARS-CoV-2) was recently declared a global pandemic by the World Health Organisation. The Orange Sky Operations and Leadership teams have been monitoring and developing early stage approaches to the development of Coronavirus. Due to Thursday’s escalation in the categorisation of Coronavirus, we will now commence a more active campaign to both prepare for, and take action, to mitigate risk to volunteers, your families, staff, partners and friends. An internal Health and Safety Group focused on Coronavirus has been formed and will be touching base each morning to discuss operations, communications, health and safety. Regular updates can be found on the Australian Government Health website.
We will be putting out more regular communications identifying measures we would encourage you to take, and measures Orange Sky will take, to safeguard your health and wellness and minimise chances of both catching and transmitting the virus. These updates will be communicated to your local leadership team. Please reach out to Service Support on 0488851113 or your local leadership team with any questions.
Volunteer Health & Wellbeing
In line with government advice, if you have recently travelled to an at risk area, please ensure you don’t go on shift for 14 days. If you feel unwell, make sure you are following the advice of health authorities and communicating with your Service Leader and Team Leader. Your safety and wellbeing always comes first.
We are also opening our VESP program to anyone who wishes to use this service for psychological help during this time. You can access this information on the Portal.
Keeping you safe on shift
We will likely see a decrease in shifts being able to operate with many service providers suspending operation as well as OSA assessing shifts that might be at higher risk in this pandemic. Lots of our shifts however will remain safe to operate. Below are some tips of what you can do to stay healthy on shift:
Use hand santizer on shift;
Cover your sneeze or cough with your arm not your hands;
Wear gloves on shift; and
Use disinfectant spray and a cloth to clean all surfaces that friends and volunteers have come into contact with throughout shift.
Please, have every confidence that we have been assessing options for a measured approach for some time now and would encourage open communication and questions from the team at any time. Communication is key to ensuring we take a well proactive and measured approach to looking after all of you whilst still being able to, where safe to do so, provide washing, warm showers and conversations for our friends.
Flu season can be a particularly hard time of the year for our friends. While we continue to offer free laundry, warm showers and great conversation out on shift, we wanted to take the opportunity to keep you informed with recommended preventions you can take to protect yourself this flu season.
These suggestions are useful to help limit the spread of germs found in the common cold, flu and widely publicised Covid-19(Coronavirus) currently in the headlines. We don’t want to create alarm, rather we want to ensure that you – our volunteers – are kept informed and can make sensible decisions around your health this flu season.
While we intend for our services to continue operating, if you do feel sick please stay at home and inform your Team Leader. Resting up and consulting your GP is advised.
Tips to help limit the spread of germs
• Remember to wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds prior to commencing work or volunteering, after sneezing and coughing, going to the bathroom, or after touching objects that may have been in contact with people exhibiting flu-like symptoms;
• Use hand sanitiser available on shift;
• Wear gloves while on shift and handling any washing or cleaning items.
• Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. It may prevent those around you from getting sick;
• If you feel sick, please stay at home, rest up and visit your GP;
• Know the signs of a flu – fever, cough, sore throat, shortness of breath; and
Be mindful of physical contact with people displaying flu-like symptoms – consider replacing handshakes with the Orange Sky approved fist bump!
• If you have been in, departed from, or transited through mainland China, Iran or South Korea in the last 14 days, you should:
Self isolate yourself from others for 14 days from the day you departed China, Iran or South Korea. Feel free to roster yourself back on shift at the conclusion of your 14-day self-isolation period; and
Stay safe this flu season, please do not panic, look out for yourselves and each other and if you have any questions, please contact your Service or Team Leader or Service Support on 0488851113 for guidance and advice.
Pending Volunteer Applications
With the latest updates from health authorities due to COVID-19, Orange Sky has made the decision to suspend any training sessions for new volunteers until further notice. We love welcoming new people into the Orange Sky family and we’ll need volunteer support more than ever when our shifts are back up and running at full capacity.
Once we are ready to open new applications for volunteering, applicants will be notified via email when a session is scheduled in your local area. Please contact email@example.com with any questions.