Protecting our Customers and Staff

Challenge Community Services response to COVID-19

Published: 20 March 2020

During these challenging times, the health, safety and wellbeing of our clients, carers, children, young people and employees are our top priority. We are doing everything necessary to protect our clients and support our staff in their roles.

We are closely monitoring advice from Australian federal and state health authorities and taking appropriate actions based on this advice. We are also in close communication with the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA).

What Challenge Community Services is doing

In line with evolving health guidelines, we are modifying our work practices to help protect our staff and clients. Current measures include:

  • Applying increased hygiene standards for all clients, carers, employees and visitors to Challenge sites with extra precautions for Supported Independent Living homes
  • Limiting non-essential face-to-face contact in our workplaces, with some employees working from home
  • Ensuring employees who have returned from overseas strictly adhere to self-isolation practices
  • Conducting regular general health checks and supporting clients to seek medical assistance if necessary.

What you can do

There is a lot you can do to help protect yourself and others in the community. This includes:

  • Reviewing daily schedules and adjusting activities where necessary to minimise non-essential outings and exposure to large groups or crowded locations
  • Staying home if you’re not feeling well or have any of the following symptoms:
    • fever
    • coughing
    • sore throat
    • significant fatigue
    • shortness of breath
  • Washing your hands with soap for 30 seconds every hour as well as after you have had direct contact with another person when preparing food, and after using the bathroom
  • Practising good personal hygiene by coughing or sneezing into your elbow, rather than your hands
  • Disposing of any used tissues immediately, ideally in a covered bin
  • Avoiding physical contact when greeting other people, including shaking hands, hugging and kissing.

This may mean you are unable to attend your day program or other community events. Although this may be disappointing, it’s important to follow these guidelines to protect others in the community, especially those more vulnerable.

We’re here to help

If you’re a Challenge Community Services customer and have any questions about our organisational response to COVID-19, please contact your support worker, case worker or another Challenge representative.

If you have any questions or concerns about COVID-19, or are an NDIS customer, contact the NSW Department of Health hotline 1800 020 080 (24 hours a day, seven days a week).

As a community, we can all work together to slow the spread of the virus. By following government health guidelines and supporting each other, we will get through this. We will come out the other side.

With best wishes

Barry Murphy
Chief Executive Officer
Challenge Community Services


Staff resource: Caring for your wellbeing during COVID-19

The health, safety and wellbeing of our staff and the people we support is our top priority.

Supporting you through COVID-19

We recognise that these are stressful times for our staff. In response, we have prepared this handout to provide you with valuable information and tips to care for your wellbeing during the COVID-19 situation.

Click here to download wellbeing handout

Employee Assistance Program (EAP)

If you require additional support, we encourage you to utilise our EAP, which is a free and confidential service for Challenge Community Services staff members and their families.

Our EAP provider NewPsych is offering
face-to-face (with social distancing) and Telehealth consultations during this time.

Contact NewPsych to speak with an EAP counsellor.
P: 02 4926 5005



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About Challenge Community Services

Over 60 years ago we were a small band of parents and friends seeking support services for our children with disability. Today, Challenge has grown to be one of the largest community support services in New South Wales. We provide support to over 2500 people from Albury to Lismore, Sydney, Dubbo, Tamworth and beyond. With over 900 staff, more than 90 of which have a disability, we strive to comply with and exceed all standards required under State and Federal Acts.
In the spirit of Reconciliation, Challenge Community Services acknowledges Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the Traditional Owners and Custodians of this country, and their connection to land, water and community. We pay our respect to them, their cultures and customs, and to Elders both past and present.
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