What can I do to help?


Staying safe, being connected

Reflecting on the great communities we have in the Shire, we have built a local community framework to enable ANYONE to build connection, provide support to, or seek help from those within their local communities. This is called the Bellingen Shire Neighbourhood Care Network (NCN) – Staying safe, being connected.
It provides safe and inclusive ways for people to network during illness and self-isolation. At a neighbourhood or street level participants help each other, particularly vulnerable people, with grocery collection, walking pets, emotional support and more.
This builds on what’s already in place in some areas of the Shire, and we want those groups to keep doing what they are doing (we don’t want to interrupt – many of you are 2 steps ahead of us!). But do please register so that we can support you, communicate with you and so that we can all share our challenges and successes during this period of the unknown.
When registering, individuals are encouraged to tell us what they need, how you may be able to help and any key skills you have. This will not only help get your local groups started, but will provide a register across communities of support available as we move through the pandemic.
Any questions about registering, feel free to call the Bellingen Connections Centre between 10am  and 2pm, Monday to Friday, 02 5627 6001

More about the Neighbourhood Care Network – PDF download

Local Champions

What’s involved?

  • Setting up a local neighbourhood network or group. This is a group of around 50 neighbours to stay in contact and help each other.
  • Figuring out ways to communicate across the group, then coordinating contact and helping everyone keep track of who needs help and who can help.
  • Helping people stay connected and support each other with positive ways to spend time at home while social distancing, self-isolating or in quarantine.
  • Staying in touch with the Neighbourhood Care Network Team (NCN Team)

Central Support

You will be supported by a small team of community volunteers working from the Youth Hub in Bellingen, known as the NCN Team.
The NCN Team will communicate with you regularly and help you troubleshoot things as they come up.
You will be able to raise needs that can’t be sorted locally with the NCN, who are working closely with the Bellingen Shire Connections Centre, a team set up to organise reliable responses to individual needs during the pandemic. This ensures that everyone is supported if there are needs that might be bigger than local groups can meet.
You will be kept in the loop with reliable and factual information about what’s happening locally with the COVID-19 pandemic. You will also get access to tools and resources to support your group.

Have a Chat


Have a chat’ is the way that NCN local networks link up those who need some company with people who have offered to provide it, locally. This may be through regular or one-off phone calls or verandah chats, or any approach that seems appropriate and safe, locally.

Local Network Cooordinators help to match people needing company with people offering company.

When people needing company have more specific, age-related support needs, we have a skilled individual who can really understand an individual’s situation. This conversation will usually be by phone. If the problems are more complex, the ‘Have a chat’ service will link to professional support services through Bellingen Connections Centre.

Why do we need Have a Chat?

In ordinary times social isolation affects approximately 50% of older Australians over the age of 60. The Covid 19 Virus has further added to the risk and burden of social isolation for all Australians.


The purpose of ‘Have a Chat’ is to grow social engagement within the Bellingen community, whilst respecting the safety measures of social distancing and isolation.

Research suggests that regular and predictable contact with a person is more important than the actual content and length of the discussion. Just knowing that someone cares and wants to connect goes a long way to reducing the perception of loneliness and being disconnected.


Goals of Have a Chat

I am connected I am connected to a network of people in my Shire that can support me.

I am valued There are a network of people in my Shire who care about me and my well being

I have purpose – I am still able to contribute to the Shire by sharing my wisdom and giving my time.

I am safe – In these unprecedented times there is a network in the Shire to help keep me happy healthy and safe


To enroll, simply call 6655 1121 and select option 3


Bellingen Shire photo - creek

Phone: 02 6655 1121 

or contact us via council customer services at 6655 7300
email: council@bellingen.nsw.gov.au   


About Us

Our core objective is to support our community through this.
The Bellingen Shire Connects website brings together, in a coordinated manner, all the information, activities and support provisions of the Pandemic Response Group. It is maintained by the Connections Centre (the central coordination team of the Pandemic Response Group).

Bellingen Shire Connections Centre
Neighbourhood Care Network
Bellingen Shire Council
Pandemic Response Group
COVID clinic
business support network
community care

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