Lives and livelihoods are common themes of COVID-19. Protecting them, prioritising them and promoting them.
Throughout this pandemic there have been lessons, leadership, learnings and loneliness. Only in war or times of major economic downturn have we been more challenged and confronted. And our health has never had a higher value. Which makes connection, collaboration and community all the more important.
As an organisation with 30 years’ experience helping people live well in the local community, Be (formerly ComLink) has had to adapt quickly to support our 34,000 registered clients, staff and volunteers. We’ve been agile to ensure we play our part in the delivery of vital health and community services on the Sunshine Coast.
More broadly though, the way healthcare is delivered has dramatically shifted. What ordinarily would take 10 years to deliver can now takes 10 days, as initiatives like telehealth showed when they were rolled out and quickly became the norm.
Here on the Sunshine Coast the changes in healthcare are going to be transformational. Be will be part of this exciting journey, including through our investment in Vitality Village, where we plan to turn healthcare on its head for the better by getting the best and brightest minds together to shake things up again.
Functionally, Vitality Village is a $25 million project under construction in the Sunshine Coast Health precinct at Birtinya. But it’s so much more than that. We see start-ups, data scientists, disability,
mental-health, aged-care and allied-health professionals and people new to the health sector coming together to collaborate and innovate for our community.
A project like Vitality Village was planned pre-pandemic but now couldn’t be better timed. Governments now face rising demands with less revenue to meet them. A project like Vitality Village is something that will put the Sunshine Coast on the map as an innovator. It can disrupt the sector, deliver substantial cost savings and achieve better health outcomes.
The village will have a mandate to tackle isolation, loneliness, ageing well and lifting mental and physical wellbeing.
My view is that the collective wisdom on the Sunshine Coast can achieve wonderful outcomes for our community. We hope by doing things differently we will change lives and be able to apply what we’ve learnt to other places.
While the village takes shape, plans are well underway for a community garden, function rooms for collaboration and events, and a restaurant to help feed the homeless using fresh local produce.
We are hoping our ‘outside the square’ thinking supports our community to grow, regather and draw strength in a post-COVID environment.
Feda Adra is the CEO of Be, a member of the Sunshine Coast Economic Resurgence Taskforce