What you can do
In 2020 our focus is on ensuring all Australians have a safe and affordable home and partnering with the Everybody’s Home campaign. You can take action by contacting the Federal Treasurer and asking him to invest in social housing. Also request a meeting with your Federal MP or Senator to discuss the social housing need in your electorate using these heat maps now and in the lead up to the Federal Budget on 6 October. There’s more info on our our Everybody’s Home page. We will also continue to partner with the Raise the Rate campaign led by ACOSS to ensure unemployment payments never go back to $40 a day. That campaign was our focus in 2019 and we welcome the Federal Government’s decision to pay an extra $550 per fortnight Coronavirus Supplement but are concerned its planned reduction by $150 per week (55%) in late September will plunge some 3.2 million Australians (including over 1 million children) into poverty. See our Poverty and COVID-19 for information and actions around keeping income support above the poverty line.
Check out our guide on Talking about Poverty that will help you frame your activity this year. Note due to the COVID-19 pandemic we are not planning any physical face-to-face activities in 2020.
Each year, people from all over Australia including local governments, schools, organisations, universities, workplaces, and communities come together to host activities. Undoubtedly, COVID-19 will change how we conduct APW this year. However, there are still plenty of activities that you can undertake whilst remaining COVID safe:
- online lectures, debates, workshops and conferences
- letters to newspapers, online petitions and surveys, and publications
- online drop-in advice, training and information sessions
- virtual exhibitions and tours
- online competitions (using video or picture submissions), award presentations and at-home projects
- meal services, online fundraisers and religious services
To ensure your activity is in accordance with COVID-19 regulations, please see the current guidelines implemented by your state below:
Other ways you can get involved
Tell people about poverty
- You could organise an online talk or presentation by someone who has experienced the effects of poverty or worked closely with someone who has done so. For example, this could include a client of a welfare organisation, a Big Issue seller, a welfare or health worker or someone from an overseas aid project.
- You could hold an online event with your work colleagues or social group or combine it with a social event like a games night or online coffee catch-up. Or you could just organise a simple Zoom get-together or email chain for staff at your work to mark the Week and help create interest.
- You could write an article for a newspaper, website or other publication.
Encourage debate or discussion
- You could organise an online debate, forum or hypothetical about a local issue, and include local community leaders and identities such as MPs, councillors, heads of community groups and local media.
- You could organise an online workshop, seminar or conference on particular poverty issues. It could be designed mainly for people who are directly affected by poverty, provide community or welfare services or work with disadvantaged people in some other capacity.
- You could carry out some research or a survey about the issue and use it as a basis for discussion at the meeting.
Call for action
- You could organise a submission or petition which highlights key problems and makes specific proposals for action to address them. It could be mailed to your local MP or council or to the state or federal government.
- For more impact, you could organise a series of these kinds of activities with other groups during the week.
Encourage people to express their views
- You could encourage people to write to their local MP or council about a particular issue. This could include providing pro forma letters or setting up an online drop-in session via Zoom or Skype to help people write individual letters to politicians, public servants or other people who may be able to help address their problems.
- You could organise an online question session with a panel of local councillors, MPs, public servants or community and business leaders. It could be advertised in a public place like a shopping mall, library or community hall.
Provide some practical help
- You could email or call businesses such as law or accountancy firms, health or nutrition professionals, local banks or financial advisers, computer or internet businesses, hospitality businesses or other service providers like hairdressers to offer practical help to people experiencing poverty or hardship.
- They could provide individuals or groups with free webinars with training, advice or information in their areas of expertise (e.g. tenant’s rights, family law, budgeting and financial planning, availability of benefits and tax, retirement prospects, health and nutrition advice or computer training).
- Brochures, guides or handouts could be provided and mailed out, perhaps together with kits including other useful items supplied by sponsors. Or services like haircuts, dental checks or meals could be provided on a once-off basis or regularly.
Promote a local community service
- You could set up an online display, exhibition or information stand about your organisation or service. Or you could hold an open day or social event like an online lunch or afternoon tea to raise awareness of the service and encourage support for it, including volunteers.
- You could launch a brochure, publication or a new service during the Week. You could hold an online competition to help raise funds for the service or conduct an online award presentation. Or you could organise an at-home project or activity with a local school.
Get the local community together
- You could organise an online family day or award presentation. It could involve as many local people as possible from schools, welfare or community organisations, police, health centres, places of worship etc with scheduled online drop-in sessions. Different groups could have virtual stalls or exhibits which explain or promote their services or issues.
- The event could encourage community participation in programs to address local problems. For example, it could launch a program of community donations to help schools, sports clubs and other organisations provide free or low-cost services for low-income families.
Do something artistic or spiritual
- You could ask people in the general community or particular disadvantaged groups to produce art, photography or writing which reflects poverty generally or a specific issue. You could hold a virtual workshop or an exhibition or display the work in a library, town hall or shopping mall and additionally through your social media channels.
- You could organise a virtual performance, concert or screening on a poverty-related issue. Some events could be designed especially for children (e.g. a puppet show with a poverty related theme).
- You could hold a religious service on poverty or a particular aspect of it, or a special sermon or prayers could be included in regular religious services.
Organise a collection or raise some money
You could combine almost any of the other ideas in this section with raising money (e.g. through admission fees, ticket sales, gold coin contributions, raffles or auctions). You could organise a collection of used or new clothes, school uniforms, sports or baby equipment from the local community or businesses. You could organise distribution, or give them to a charity or aid organisation to distribute.
Volunteer or donate
- You could volunteer your services to an organisation working to address poverty and hardship, either for a one-off event or on an ongoing basis.
- You could also ask your employer to let you organise a volunteering program at work, or if you are an employer you could think about putting a volunteering scheme in place.
- You could donate money yourself and you could organise a donation scheme at your workplace. Donations could perhaps be made through direct deductions and matched by the company or business.
- See www.volunteeringaustralia.org for ideas and information about volunteering, or contact a local community service or your local council. See www.ourcommunity.com.au for ideas about donations.