The Somerville House Old Girls' Association COVID Crisis Response

Apr 18, 2020

In recognition of the unprecedented challenges posed by the current crisis, the Old Girls’ Association has developed a crisis response plan.

Please read on to find out how we can help you - or how you can get involved, if you are in a position to assist. 

Thanks to our members, the OGA has a proud history of supporting its community in times of need, over the past 119 years. As previous generations have shown, the ability to turn adversity into opportunity and strength is fundamental to being a Somerville woman. 

Our hope is that this difficult time provides an opportunity to connect, support and celebrate our Somerville Sisters, strengthening our social networks, reinvigorating lost connections and establishing new relationships that endure long after this storm has passed.

The OGA’s COVID Crisis Response includes: 

1.    Facilitating support and assistance for former students including:

•    Virtual reunion options for those who will miss out on reunion events this year
•    Patronage of impacted member-owned businesses, or places of work
•    Promoting work opportunities for those who find themselves unemployed or with reduced working hours
•    Accommodation for members stranded by border shutdowns, medical issues or travel restrictions

2.    Complimentary or discounted access to essential professional advice including:

•    Legal, accounting, home schooling, technology - for urgent issues specifically posed by the crisis
•    Aspects of this assistance will also be made available to the broader Somerville community including current parents, wherever possible

3.    Identifying and connecting with isolated or at risk Old Girls to assist with mental wellbeing or loneliness

•    Helping Old Girls digitally reconnect with their peers 
•    ‘Adopt an Old Girl’ pen pal activity linking Junior School students with socially isolated Old Girls 
•    Delivery of supplies, food and essentials to isolated, mobility impaired or self-isolating members
•    Partner with the school for ‘wellbeing checks’ – whereby OGA Committee members and school staff place calls to check in on our mature aged members

4.    Financial assistance: OGA Crisis Bursaries

We are aware of the hardships being experienced by many across our community. Knowing that some Old Girl who are current parents will have lost significant employment or business income, the OGA and Foundation have been working with Somerville House Principal Kim Kiepe to develop a COVID-19 Bursary Fund, to assist those who are facing serious financial difficulties during this challenging time. 

Each of us were priviledged to have families who made significant financial sacrifices, beacuse they believed in the importance of high quality education for girls. 

The OGA are proud to contribute to fee relief bursaries for Old Girls who are current parents at Somerville, and we thank our members for making this possible.

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Early in the COVID crisis, the OGA reached out to its members and commenced support activities that focussed on Old Girl wellbeing, accommodation and employment assistance. Thank you to the Old Girls who have already approached us to assist, or requested assistance. You can find details of the professional assistance and opportunities offered on our News page - and please follow us on Facebook for regular updates.

DO YOU REQUIRE ASSISTANCE - OR CAN YOU HELP AN OLD GIRL?

Please email connect@somervillehouseoga.com.au


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