Want to help during the COVID-19 pandemic? This app is how

03 Jun 2020

An app that allows everyday people to help local businesses struggling through the COVID-19 pandemic has been launched today.

‘Lean In Newy’ connects organisations that need support, with people wanting to help, while providing added encouragement through $50,000 in vouchers and discounts redeemable at local businesses.

Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said Novocastrians have been brimming with community spirit in response to COVID-19 and Lean In Newy would direct people’s desire to help where it’s most needed.

“COVID-19 has had an unprecedented effect on our community, with older people experiencing increased isolation and businesses suffering a downturn in trade, while other people have found themselves suddenly with more time on their hands,” the Lord Mayor said.

“We have been hearing from many people in the community wanting to help but not knowing how. Lean In Newy is the answer to those asking, ‘How can I help?’.

“Charitable organisations like OzHarvest, Dog Rescue Newcastle and Take 3 For The Sea have registered with Lean In Newy to put out a call for volunteering opportunities, and those who put their hand up will be rewarded with incentives like a free coffee at a local café.

“There are already 23 businesses and 11 not-for-profits signed up, with more in talks, and City of Newcastle is funding the discounts or incentives offered through businesses during the COVID-19 recovery phase.

“Lean In Newy is a fantastic way for us to play our part in helping local businesses and community organisations get back on their feet.”

(L-R): Family Support Newcastle CEO Sue Hellier, Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes and Zebra Finch owner Kate McNally assemble kids' activity packs.

Family Support Newcastle is one of those community organisations. CEO Sue Hellier said the organisation’s role in promoting the wellbeing of children and their families, individuals and communities was more vital than ever in light of recent hardship caused by COVID-19.

“Many of our activity groups and face-to-face support services have been impacted by COVID-19, but our mission remains the same. There are still ways the community can assist, like purchasing items and assembling kids’ activity or sanitisation packs at home and dropping them off at our Waratah centre,” Ms Hellier said.

“Lean In Newy will be a great help for organisations like us that need more support during this challenging time, and we’re very thankful to City of Newcastle for developing this initiative.”

Likewise, local business owner Kate McNally, who operates Zebra Finch at Marketown and Kotara, said she was grateful for the helping hand to encourage customers back to the stores.

“As a small business, we have felt the impacts of COVID-19 closures and social distancing measures quite profoundly, with a significant downturn in trade,” Mrs McNally said.

“It’s a relief to have the City’s support to help get back on track.”

Download Lean In Newy from the App Store or Google Play or visit leaninnewy.com.au.