PLANS are moving quickly to shift unused manpower at Wagga council to the city's welfare groups that have been stretched thin due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Wagga mayor Greg Conkey said after meeting with a wide cross-section of the community's welfare groups it became apparent that they needed more manpower as its volunteer pool started dwindle in numbers.
"The volunteers are over the age of 70 and in that crucial age group where they are most vulnerable and had to stop volunteering, which we totally understand," he said.
"Hopefully Wagga City Council can meet some of those requirements through manpower, vehicles and logistical support as well."
The council has closed the doors of several of its services due to the COVID-19 pandemic, including the library, museum, aquatic centre and civic theatre. It was decision that left many council workers underutilised.
However, Cr Conkey said a vast majority of these staff members were willing to step up to a community service role to support the city during these challenging times.
He said the welfare groups would retain full control and council was merely there for support.
"There is a whole variety of places where we can step in and assist, but our role is not to take over - they are the experts and we will step in and assist with manpower, resources and transport," he said.
Cr Conkey said residents wanting to support any welfare group during this crisis could do so by providing cash rather than physical goods.
In a time when home food deliveries have felt a noticeable boost in demand, Wagga's Meals on Wheels branch manager Julie Logan said most volunteers were forced to stay away because their age puts them at risk for this virus.
"We are under a lot of pressure to provide all the extra meals, which has gone up by 40 per cent," she said.
"It puts a lot of pressure on us, but it is great to rely on people like the council workers to help us meet the much higher demand."
- Those suffering acute, cold, flu-like symptoms who have recently returned from travelling or are a contact of a confirmed case are urged to be tested for the virus. To do this, call HealthDirect on 1800 0222 222 to be triaged and advised by a nurse over the phone. Alternatively, contact your GP to book an appointment and let them know in advance if you have symptoms - these might include fever, cough, runny nose or shortness of breath.
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