Capacity Building and Growth Through COVID



In 2019/2020 Deaf Services was preparing for the first full year with all eligible services delivered through the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

Despite the challenging environment the organisation has continued to grow its services and deliver support to more members of the Deaf, deafblind and hard of hearing communities.

For Deaf Services the pandemic is a reminder of the importance of the support which we provide, a reminder that came with the introduction of the term essential worker.

With all our support workers (and many interpreters) classified as essential, Deaf Services made the decision in April to adopt a work-from-home model for all office-based staff to ensure their safety, but also the safety of our frontline staff, and our clients.

Deaf Services implemented a business continuity plan ensuring that we were able to continue business while staff were working from home and providing our front-line staff with extensive COVIDSafe protocols prior to delivering services.

The initial impact of this shift in working style put a strain on Deaf Services’ IT systems and hardware and forced an accelerated adoption of digital platforms and virtual ways of working. Despite this, we successfully transitioned appropriate staff to this model, including our corporate office staff, Auslan teachers and contact centre.

Deaf Services management worked with our own systems, government compliance and the information from a comprehensive staff survey to inform our initial response to COVID-19 and a comprehensive COVID-19 Safe Plan, which is a road map for the evolving procedures of returning to the workplace and services as we once knew them.

Supported by our workforce – who transitioned effectively to working from home, Deaf Services has turned FY19/20 into a profitable example of what the organisation can achieve under the NDIS.

All community services delivered above budget this year, with Lifestyle Support Services and Ageing Well continuing to perform exceptionally as we expand our influence over those areas throughout the Deaf community.

The Deaf Lottery has continued to provide vital funding support for our grants and sponsorships program, and continues to support the expansion and development new services, particularly as we move into our merge with the Deaf Society. Deaf Lottery supporters, along with donor have continued support the organisation throughout COVID-19 ensuring the organisation’s continued success and service delivery.

The organisation’s success in 2019/2020 have resulted in a staff cohort with a heightened awareness of wellness and with the knowledge that we have the capacity and the resilience to continue to streamline and improve our ways of doing business.