25 August 2020   

2 mins read

Gathering together as a community is an essential part of belonging and is important for maintaining positive social relationships, morale and mental health. That’s why many of our Stockland community partnerships and programs are designed to bring people together to socialise, exercise and learn. However, the COVID-19 pandemic and its related physical distancing restrictions has challenged all of us to think more broadly about how we can maintain the benefits of connection, along with staying safe.

At Stockland we have worked hard with our community partners to deliver a number of our face-to-face health and wellbeing programs virtually. Jamie's Ministry of Food has provided online cooking classes to our retirement village residents, while Live Life Get Active has provided access to online fitness training, nutrition plans and virtual coaching, helping our residents stay as healthy as possible.

The Stockland CARE Foundation strategic partners, Redkite, ReachOut and R U OK?, have provided numerous communications to our employees, customers and residents on maintaining good mental health and wellbeing throughout the pandemic. Belong, our new online meeting place for retail customers, features wellbeing content from all three Foundation partners. We sent out over 9,000 R U OK? connection postcards to our retirement living residents, and included tips for wellbeing and reducing loneliness in our national retirement living newsletters. We also co-funded 10,000 emergency food boxes to be distributed to disadvantaged families by food charity Eat Up, with an insert for young people from ReachOut on how to look after yourself during this period.

We have also supported our employees as they adapt to the challenges of working from home and staying safe while working at our front line assets. Throughout April we ran a '30 Days of Wellbeing' campaign that shared advice on exercising at home, keeping children entertained and how to manage stress and anxiety. In May, over 300 employees attended an organisation-wide webinar facilitated by R U OK? and ReachOut to discuss the various effects of the pandemic on mental health and what we can all do to keep ourselves mentally well and connected.

While the COVID-19 pandemic necessitated many changes to planned programs and initiatives, we have been delighted by the creativity and determination of our team and our partners to continue to support the health and wellbeing of all our communities, from our own employees to the communities in our residential and retirement villages. Throughout this time of meeting immediate needs, we have maintained our focus on the long term. We are already planning how we can work alongside our partners to best support the recovery and rebuilding of the many communities where we operate, including through important awareness raising initiatives such as R U OK? Day in September and Mental Health Month in October.