COVID-19 Update: Message from the CEO

A Message to All: David Butt, National CEO
UPDATE: Coronavirus alert for Grow

  • With cases of COVID-19 expanding exponentially across Australia, GROW has decided to
    close all face-to-face meetings after Thursday to protect the health and wellbeing of
    members and staff.
  •  All existing members will be offered video conferencing alternatives at the same time and
    with the same members of their current local group.
  • We see this as the best option to minimise disruption and maintain access to the program
    until such time as face-to-face meetings can be recommenced.
  • At this vital time, it is imperative that we all continue to support each other, so please
    continue to participate.
  • And a big thank you to all our dedicated staff, members and volunteers who continue to
    work so hard to ensure Grow remains a safe and great place to be.

    Grow has been closely monitoring the impact of the pandemic on the program and other services,
    including the increasing restrictions being placed on public assembly and requirements for social
    isolation and social distancing.

    Already groups have been turning up at meetings to find venues have been closed: indeed, the rate
    of this occurring has increased quickly and by the end of this week we expect very few meeting
    venues to be available. In addition, there is an increasing likelihood that the nation will move to
    broader lockdowns across the country, with additional restrictions on public meetings such as Grow
    groups.

    This is why Grow has been rapidly escalating the opportunity to move groups to video conferencing
    as an alternative to face-to-face meetings. We recognise the importance of groups continuing to
    meet and to continue to provide mutual support and self-help while at the same time keeping
    people safe.

    These are very challenging times when social isolation and health and financial stresses are set to
    increase mental trauma and impact on mental wellbeing. Indeed, in recent history there has not
    been a more evident time when mutual support and a caring and sharing community were more
    important for our members and other Australian residents.

    We therefore expect all current groups to be enabled to meet online from this Friday and urge you
    to take up this option, supporting others who need you to be there with them, and supporting
    yourself.

    Branch offices and Field Workers have been busy contacting Organisers and Recorders, as well as
    members, to offer them this online opportunity. If you are not fully acquainted with what is being
    proposed, please contact your Branch Office or Field Worker.

    They in turn will provide you with the support and training to come together as online groups and
    deliver the program – same time each week, same program structure, same people, just a different
    method of meeting.

    If you are concerned about the technology, they also can help you with that. It’s simple and easy to
    follow – simply get online and click on a dedicated Zoom link. And if you don’t have video
    conferencing access, they can work through that with you, or link you in by phone.
    Grow will enable new members to join your specific group where they wish to do so because the
    group is from their local area.

    Where groups choose to go into hiatus, or individuals choose not to participate at this time, we urge
    you to continue to use the Program as the guiding light to your actions and beliefs, and as far as
    possible to maintain a caring and sharing community with others to enable recovery and personal
    growth until such time as face-to-face meetings can be recommenced.

    Grow also is rapidly scaling up access to its online groups known as eGrow to cater for what we
    expect to be a massive cry for help from people experiencing mental trauma due to the impact of
    social isolation and loss of employment.

    Grow will keep you informed as the situation develops, with the plan being to recommence face-to-face meetings as soon as that is announced as safe.

    Once again, thank you to you all, and particularly to the managers and staff working so hard to make
    this extraordinarily difficult and challenging time as easy and seamless as is possible.

    In Grow Friendship
    David Butt
    National CEO
    24 March 2020