Neighbourhood house traditionally provides an open door to anyone needing help, but with the city under stay-at-home restrictions staff have taken the step to bring assistance to them.
Since opening early last year the West Warrnambool Neighbourhood House has been a welcome and oft-visited addition to the Dennington and West Warrnambool communities.
But then COVID-19 forced the neighbourhood house to close its doors to the public, leaving the community without a place to drop in and without a somewhere to develop local connections and a sense of belonging.
West Warrnambool Neighbourhood House coordinator Jill Bourke said social connections and supports provided by a neighbourhood house are exactly what people need during a crisis or emergency situation.
"We decided to become an outreach service, going directly to those seeking assistance," Ms Bourke said.
A call out on social media asking for people to get in touch if they needed support triggered a quick response.
This was followed up by a letterbox drop of a postcard to make sure that those who didn't have internet access were not slipping through cracks in the support system.
"We had a great response," Ms Bourke said.
Since April 2, the Neighbourhood House has provided help to over 160 families and single-person households.
"We formed a partnership with Foodshare and Lifeline and have been flat out delivering support packages that include items such as food, blankets, warm clothes, books and games," Ms Bourke said.
"The non-food items have been provided by Lifeline Direct.
"They are the sorts of items that would usually be made available through Lifeline shops.
"With the Lifeline shops currently closed, their regional hub manager Jaimee Millar was pleased to collaborate and help to distribute essential items in a targeted fashion."
Ms Bourke said she hoped the support provided through the Neighbourhood House has helped to strengthen community morale throughout the pandemic.
"We are looking forward to bringing the community together again at the West Warrnambool Neighbourhood House once the restrictions ease," she said.
This week is Neighbourhood House Week, a nationwide initiative to celebrate the role of neighbourhood houses and centres in the community.
Our COVID-19 news articles relating to public health and safety are free for anyone to access. However, we depend on subscription revenue to support our journalism. If you are able, please subscribe here. If you are already a subscriber, thank you for your support.