COVID-19

As the COVID-19 outbreak continues to affect families, communities and countries around the world, Orange Sky continues to monitor how best to support the health, safety and well being of our friends, volunteers, supporters and staff.

It is with great disappointment that we share the Orange Sky Board, Senior Leadership Team and COVID-19 response team have made the difficult decision to pause shifts in their current form for up to the next four weeks. There is potential for this to be extended based on government advice.

We are proud and inspired by our team everyday and are committed to finding innovative ways to keep the most vulnerable people in our community connected over this time. Our volunteers have been doing such an amazing job keeping our friends connected during this difficult time, and this decision was not made lightly. These are challenging times for us all as we come together to fight the spread of COVID-19. Now more than ever, we are reminded about the importance of keeping our community safe, as well as the care and compassion of the people around us. Our main responsibility at this time is to ensure the health, safety and wellbeing of our friends, volunteers, fellow service providers and the general public.

Any future decision about getting our shifts back up and running will be guided by the most up to date and reliable information from the New Zealand Government. If you have been following us over the last few years, you will know that something like this will not stop us from delivering our mission to positively connect communities. We continue to be incredibly grateful for your support, as we work hard to deliver our mission and support our friends doing it tough.

Orange Sky Headquarters closure:

As COVID-19 continues to challenge our communities, Orange Sky’s leadership team has made the decision to close HQ for three weeks, requesting staff to work from home until Sunday, 12 April. We will update our community if any of this information changes.

Get in contact with Orange Sky

Friends accessing our services

To all of our wonderful friends who use our service, we are thinking of you at this extremely difficult time. We will back as soon as we can providing free laundry and showers, and most importantly, sitting down for a chat with you on our six orange chairs.

Get in touch with Orange Sky

Volunteers

Please find below the latest updates and information about COVID-19 relating to Orange Sky volunteers.

Kia Ora Volunteer whanau,

 

These are challenging times for all of us as we come together to fight the spread of COVID-19. Now more than ever, we are reminded about the importance of keeping our community safe, as well as the care and compassion of the people around us.

 

The Orange Sky Board, Senior Leadership Team and COVID-19 response team have made the difficult decision to pause shifts in their current form for up to the next four weeks. There is potential for this to be extended based on government advice.

We are proud and inspired by our team everyday and are committed to finding innovative ways to keep the most vulnerable people in our community connected over this time.
You have all have been doing such amazing work keeping our friends connected to our shifts, and we hope you know that this decision was not made lightly. Our main responsibility at this time is to ensure the health, safety and well-being of our friends, volunteers, fellow service providers and the general public.

 

Any future decision about recommencing shifts will be guided by the most up to date and reliable information from the New Zealand Government. If you’ve been volunteering with us for the last few years or following Orange Sky’s journey, you will know that something like this will not stop us from delivering our mission to positively connect communities.

 

We also want to send a clear message to our friends – we know this is going to be an incredibly challenging time and we want to assure our community that we will be working everyday to get conversations happening again on our six orange chairs.

 

We will be keeping our lines of communication open, so please contact us at info@orangesky.org.nz or call Eddie if you have any questions or concerns.

 

Thank you again for all your support as we navigate this new environment. We will be in touch with more information soon.

Eddie Uini

Manager of Service Operations (NZ)

As many of you are aware, Coronavirus (often also referred to as COVID-19 and SARS-CoV-2) was recently declared a global pandemic by the World Health Organisation. The Orange Sky Operations and Leadership teams have been monitoring and developing early stage approaches to the development of Coronavirus. Due to Thursday’s escalation in the categorisation of Coronavirus, we will now commence a more active campaign to both prepare for, and take action, to mitigate risk to volunteers, your families, staff, partners and friends. An internal Health and Safety Group focused on Coronavirus has been formed and will be touching base each morning to discuss operations, communications, health and safety. Regular updates can be found on the Ministry of Health’s website.

Communicating Updates

We will be putting out more regular communications identifying measures we would encourage you to take, and measures Orange Sky will take, to safeguard your health and wellness and minimise chances of both catching and transmitting the virus. These updates will be communicated to your local leadership team.

Volunteer Health & Wellbeing

In line with government advice, if you have recently travelled to an at risk area, please ensure you don’t go on shift for 14 days. If you feel unwell, make sure you are following the advice of health authorities and communicating with your Service Leader and Team Leader. Your safety and wellbeing always comes first.

Keeping you safe on shift

We will likely see a decrease in shifts being able to operate with many service providers suspending operation as well as Orange Sky assessing shifts that might be at higher risk in this pandemic. Lots of our shifts however will remain safe to operate. Below are some tips of what you can do to stay healthy on shift:
      1. Use hand santizer on shift;
      2. Cover your sneeze or cough with your arm not your hands;
      3. Wear gloves on shift; and
      4. Use disinfectant spray and a cloth to clean all surfaces that friends and volunteers have come into contact with throughout shift.

 

Please, have every confidence that we have been assessing options for a measured approach for some time now and would encourage open communication and questions from the team at any time. Communication is key to ensuring we take a well proactive and measured approach to looking after all of you whilst still being able to, where safe to do so, provide washing, warm showers and conversations for our friends.

 

If you have any questions, please contact Orange Sky directly through info@orangesky.org.nz

Common Cold, Flu and Coronavirus Update

 

Flu season can be a particularly hard time of the year for our friends. While we continue to offer free laundry, warm showers and great conversation out on shift, we wanted to take the opportunity to keep you informed with recommended preventions you can take to protect yourself this flu season.

 

These suggestions are useful to help limit the spread of germs found in the common cold, flu and widely publicised Covid-19 (Coronavirus) currently in the headlines. We don’t want to create alarm, rather we want to ensure that you – our volunteers – are kept informed and can make sensible decisions around your health this flu season.

 

While we intend for our services to continue operating, if you do feel sick please stay at home and inform your Team Leader. Resting up and consulting your GP is advised.

 

Tips to help limit the spread of germs

 

• Remember to wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds prior to commencing work or volunteering, after sneezing and coughing, going to the bathroom, or after touching objects that may have been in contact with people exhibiting flu-like symptoms;
• Use hand sanitiser available on shift;
• Wear gloves while on shift and handling any washing or cleaning items.
• Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. It may prevent those around you from getting sick;
• If you feel sick, please stay at home, rest up and visit your GP;
• Know the signs of a flu – fever, cough, sore throat, shortness of breath; and
Be mindful of physical contact with people displaying flu-like symptoms – consider replacing handshakes with the Orange Sky approved fist bump!
• If you have been in, departed from, or transited through mainland China, Iran or South Korea in the last 14 days, you should:
Self isolate yourself from others for 14 days from the day you departed China, Iran or South Korea. Feel free to roster yourself back on shift at the conclusion of your 14-day self-isolation period; and
Monitor yourself for symptoms.

 

For further, specific information on Coronavirus, please read through the link below from the Ministry of Health’s website. You can also phone Healthline’s dedicated COVID-19 number on 0800 358 5453 for any other guidance as well.

 

Stay safe this flu season, please do not panic, look out for yourselves and each other and if you have any questions, please contact your Service or Team Leader or Service Support on 0488851113 for guidance and advice.

Pending Volunteer Applications

With the latest updates from health authorities due to COVID-19, Orange Sky has made the decision to suspend any training sessions for new volunteers until further notice. We love welcoming new people into the Orange Sky family and we’ll need volunteer support more than ever when our shifts are back up and running at full capacity.

 

Once we are ready to open new applications for volunteering, applicants will be notified via email when a session is scheduled in your local area. Please contact info@orangesky.org.nz with any questions.

Contact Us

Service providers

If you are a service provider, please keep us updated of any changes to your service provision or environment that may have consequences for us partnering with you at your location in the future.

Click here to fill out the form

Ways to Support

Donate funds to help Orange Sky continue to deliver our mission and support our friends doing it tough.

Donate Now

Media

Socials

Follow our socials for up to date information on how Orange Sky is responding to the COVID-19 outbreak, as well as some positive news stories about our community


COVID - 19 Response

As the COVID-19 outbreak continues to affect families, communities and countries around the world, Orange Sky has been monitoring how best to support the health, safety and well being of our friends, volunteers, supporters and staff.

Orange Sky has a strong and embedded health and safety culture, and we will do all we can to avoid risks that could negatively impact the people in our community. We are currently implementing a measured approach to support as many of our shifts to stay in operation as we can. We will notify of any changes to shifts as required and provide as frequent updates as possible through our channels.

Important information:

1. Orange Sky Headquarters closure:

As COVID-19 continues to challenge our communities, Orange Sky’s leadership team has made the decision to close high risk environments such as HQ for the next 14 days, requesting staff to work from home until Monday, 30 March. We will update our community if any of this information changes.


2. Orange Sky shift delivery:

Volunteers:

If you are a volunteer, we’d encourage you to work with your local teams to assess your shift situation and determine the level of risk for your attendance.

Service providers:

If you are a service provider, please communicate any changes to your service provision or environment that may have consequences for us partnering with you at your location by completing this form

Friends accessing our services:

If you are looking to access our services real time information will be available via our website as to whether services have been cancelled . You can find this at orangesky.org.au/locations


3. Recommended source of information:

For further, specific information on COVID-19, please visit the Ministry of Health’s website or phone Healthline’s dedicated COVID-19 number on 0800 358 5453.

A special shout out to our friends doing it tough, who might have limited access to services during this difficult time. Stay safe everyone, and please take care of yourselves and each other.

Many thanks,
Orange Sky Australia


Eddie's Orange Sky Family

I don’t think I will ever be able to fully understand what it’s like to experience homelessness. After hundreds of hours of conversations with our friends on the street, I have never heard the same story twice.

Much of my time is spent trying to tell stories that paint a clear picture of what it feels like to do it tough. Our friends are so gracious with their time and have built up a level of trust in Orange Sky through our amazing volunteers – it is a very good place to be as a storyteller.

The words of our friends give me a good indication of the real service we are providing to people doing it tough. Is it laundry? Or showers? Or connection? Or is it something bigger, more life changing? I might need a few more years until I have all the answers, but I feel like I got pretty close during the four days spent on shift with the amazing Uini family in Auckland.

Family is something that I have heard spoken about each time I visit Orange Sky shifts in New Zealand. Our friends talk about complex relationships that occur within families. In some cases, these relationships are a huge form of support; but when negative circumstances arise, they can be at the root cause of experiences of homelessness.

Which brings me to Eddie, the Uini family and Orange Sky New Zealand. Eddie’s story is very well known across New Zealand. In one sentence for the ‘un-uini-ightened’ (see what I did there), Eddie started Orange Sky’s free mobile laundry and shower service in New Zealand (supported by the team in Australia).

Eddie is the eldest of five children, with a Samoan father and a mother with a mixed heritage from Germany and the United Kingdom. The family all live together in the outer suburbs of Auckland. It is a bustling hub of excitement and at all times of the day, people are coming and going, eating together and supporting each other through words of encouragement (and, when needed, a few sharp words for the young ‘uns).

It came as no surprise to the family when Eddie started Orange Sky New Zealand. Eddie is a compassionate and gentle person who has spent the first 30 years of his life mentoring and looking after his siblings and anyone else he comes across who needs help. I can vouch for an amazing Uini hug when I am feeling a little overwhelmed!

Lesina (28), Elsie (26), Isacc (21) and Nathan (19) are the lucky siblings of Eddie and really admire the big man’s passion for helping other people. Of course, when Eddie asked if they would volunteer for Orange Sky, they said yes…but they were not sure what to expect, or even how they felt about the issue of homelessness.

I had the opportunity to sit down with each of Eddie’s siblings and talk about their experience. They all spoke genuinely and candidly about their perceptions of people experiencing homelessness before volunteering for Orange Sky. They had learnt to see people who were ‘down on their luck’ or living on the street as someone else’s problem. There was no motivation to stop, acknowledge the person and maybe even have a chat. This was caused by a mix of fear, not wanting to offer money and not knowing what would come next if they took the simple step of saying hello.

Nathan was very open of his view of people doing it tough.

“I would have walked with my nose at a higher angle and walked past instead of looking and talking with them. [Volunteering] has completely changed my views on homelessness. Playing cards, doing washing, having such a great conversation. It barely feels like I am actually going out to do some voluntary work, it’s like going out and having a game of cards with your mates, only you have a lot of mates now. It just grounds you and humbles you to know all these people at heart.”

All of the siblings have taken to volunteering like ducks to water. They were very open about the fact they probably wouldn’t have made the decision to volunteer if not influenced by Eddie, but now feel strange if they miss a shift and miss their friends.

Elsie puts it best when she says:

“It is so weird that I am actually volunteering for Orange Sky when you think about it. I stay right away from touching my siblings washing and sometimes avoid conversation as I feel like my conversation isn’t interesting enough. But I jumped, and I did it and I couldn’t imagine my life without it.”

It takes a lot of courage to be open about you past perceptions and admit to negative stereotypes that influenced your behaviour. But the Uini family want to act as a beacon of hope, an example for their community to believe in the power of acknowledgement, conversation and connection for our friends doing it tough.

It was so cool to hear Elsie close her discussion with this very point. Something that I have never heard before, but a powerful reminder of an aspirational existence where everyone feels connected to a community.

“I would really like for Orange Sky not to be such an anomaly and just an everyday thing for everyone to be out here doing everything they can for their fellow Kiwis.

Beyond that I guess, I hope and dream that Orange sky won’t be such a miracle for people and something that is available to everyone.”

The Uini family are united in their support of our friends

Learn More


March Safety

Flu season can be a particularly hard time of the year for our friends. While we continue to offer free laundry, warm showers and great conversation out on shift, we wanted to take the opportunity to keep you informed with recommended preventions you can take to protect yourself this flu season.

These suggestions are useful to help limit the spread of germs found in the common cold, flu and widely publicised Covid-19 (Coronavirus) currently in the headlines. We don’t want to create alarm, rather we want to ensure that you – our volunteers – are kept informed and can make sensible decisions around your health this flu season.

While we intend for our services to continue operating, if you do feel sick please stay at home and inform your Team Leader. Resting up and consulting your GP is advised.


Tips to help limit the spread of germs

• Remember to wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds prior to commencing work or volunteering, after sneezing and coughing, going to the bathroom, or after touching objects that may have been in contact with people exhibiting flu-like symptoms;

• Use hand sanitiser available on shift;

• Wear gloves while on shift and handling any washing or cleaning items.

• Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. It may prevent those around you from getting sick;

• If you feel sick, please stay at home, rest up and visit your GP;

• Know the signs of a flu – fever, cough, sore throat, shortness of breath; and
Be mindful of physical contact with people displaying flu-like symptoms – consider replacing handshakes with the Orange Sky approved fist bump!

• If you have been in, departed from, or transited through mainland China, Iran or South Korea in the last 14 days, you should:
Self isolate yourself from others for 14 days from the day you departed China, Iran or South Korea. Feel free to roster yourself back on shift at the conclusion of your 14-day self-isolation period; and
Monitor yourself for symptoms.


For further, specific information on Coronavirus, please read through the link below from the Ministry of Health’s website. You can also phone Healthline’s dedicated COVID-19 number on 0800 358 5453 for any other guidance as well.
https://www.health.govt.nz/our-work/diseases-and-conditions/covid-19-novel-coronavirus

Stay safe this flu season, please do not panic, look out for yourselves and each other and if you have any questions, please contact your Service or Team Leader for guidance and advice.


Eddie Family

Eddie's Orange Sky Family


I don’t think I will ever be able to obtain a full understanding of what it is like to experience homelessness.

After hundreds of hours of interviews with our friends on the street I have never heard the same story twice. 

Much of my time is spent thinking about stories that paint a clear picture of what it feels like to do it tough in our communities. Our friends are so gracious with their time and have built up a level of trust through our amazing volunteers, it is a very good place to be as a storyteller.

The words from our friends give me a very good indication of the real Orange Sky service and we are really providing to people doing it tough. Is it connection, is it a service or…is it something bigger, more life changing? I might have a few more years until I get all those answers but feel like I got pretty close with my four days on shift with the amazing Uini’s in Auckland.

Family is something that I have heard spoken about each time I visit shifts in New Zealand. Our friends talk complex relationships that occur with families. In some cases a huge form of support but also when negative circumstances arise something that can be at the root cause of experiences of homelessness.

Which brings me to Eddie, The Uini’s and Orange Sky New Zealand. Eddie’s story is very well known across New Zealand and in one sentence for the un-uini-ightened (see what I did there), he started the free mobile laundry and shower service in Zealand supported be the host country of Australia.

Eddie is the eldest of five children and has a Samoan father and Mother with a mixed heritage from Germany and the United Kingdom. The family all live together in a big house on the outer suburbs of Auckland. It is a bustling hub of excitement and at all times of the day people are coming and going, eating together and supporting each other through words of encouragement (and, when needed, a few sharp words for the younguns).

Elisi (27), Lesina (24), Isacc (21) and Nathan (19) – I have to check those ages – are the lucky siblings of Eddie and adore the big man’s passion for helping other people. Of course when Eddie asked for them to help through volunteering they said yes…but they were definitely not sure of what to expect or even how they felt about homelessness.

Which brings me to Eddie, The Uini’s and Orange Sky New Zealand. Eddie’s story is very well known across New Zealand and in one sentence for the un-uini-ightened (see what I did there), he started the free mobile laundry and shower service in Zealand supported be the host country of Australia.

Eddie is the eldest of five children and has a Samoan father and Mother with a mixed heritage from Germany and the United Kingdom. The family all live together in a big house on the outer suburbs of Auckland. It is a bustling hub of excitement and at all times of the day people are coming and going, eating together and supporting each other through words of encouragement (and, when needed, a few sharp words for the younguns).

Elisi (27), Lesina (24), Isacc (21) and Nathan (19) – I have to check those ages – are the lucky siblings of Eddie and adore the big man’s passion for helping other people. Of course when Eddie asked for them to help through volunteering they said yes…but they were definitely not sure of what to expect or even how they felt about homelessness.

I had the opportunity to sit down with each one of Eddie’s siblings and talk about their experience. They all spoke genuinely and candidly about their perceptions of people experiencing homelessness before volunteering for Orange Sky. They had learnt to see people in the street down on their luck with view that it was someone else’s problems. People they would see in the street or on their way to University did not have an identity and there was no motivation to stop, acknowledge and maybe even have a chat. A bit of a mix of fear, not wanting to offer money and not knowing what would come next if they took the simple step to say hello.

Nathan was very open of his view of people doing it tough:

…i would have…walked with my nose at a higher angle and walked past instead of looking and talking with them…it (volunteering) has completely changed my views on homelessness…playing cards, doing washing having such a great conversation it barely feels like i am actually going out to some voluntary work, it’s like going out and having a game of cards with your mates, only you have a lot of mates now. It just grounds you and humbles you to know all these people at heart.”

All of the siblings have taken to volunteering like ducks to water. They were very open about not making this decision if not influenced by Eddie but now feel strange if they miss a shift and miss their friends.

Elisi puts it best when she says:

“It is so weird that I am actually volunteering for Orange Sky when you think about it. I stay right away from…touching my siblings washing…and avoid conversation as I feel like my conversation isn’t interesting enough, but i jumped, and did it and I couldn’t imagine my life without it.”

It takes a lot of courage to be open about you past perceptions and admit to negative stereotypes that influenced your behavior. But the Uini family want to act as a beacon of hope for everyone in the community to believe in the power of acknowledgement, conversation and connection for our friends doing it tough.

It was so cool to hear Elise close her discussion with this very point. Something that I have never heard before but a powerful reminder of an aspirational existence where everyone feels connected to a community.

“I would really like for Orange Sky not to be such an anomaly and just an everyday thing for everyone to be out here doing everything they can for their fellow Kiwis.

Beyond that I guess, hope and dream OS that Orange sky wont be such a miracle for people and something that is available to everyone”

I just realised that in this whole story I have not referenced the impact on our friends, the power of Orange Sky’s service or the outcomes that our friends receive. But, maybe they are one and the same for the people that take time out of their lives to volunteer. To feel connected to something bigger than themselves, to be part of a genuine community and to have amazing conversations!

Elisi puts it best when she says:

“It is so weird that I am actually volunteering for Orange Sky when you think about it. I stay right away from…touching my siblings washing…and avoid conversation as I feel like my conversation isn’t interesting enough, but i jumped, and did it and I couldn’t imagine my life without it.”

It takes a lot of courage to be open about you past perceptions and admit to negative stereotypes that influenced your behavior. But the Uini family want to act as a beacon of hope for everyone in the community to believe in the power of acknowledgement, conversation and connection for our friends doing it tough.

It was so cool to hear Elise close her discussion with this very point. Something that I have never heard before but a powerful reminder of an aspirational existence where everyone feels connected to a community.

“I would really like for Orange Sky not to be such an anomaly and just an everyday thing for everyone to be out here doing everything they can for their fellow Kiwis.

Beyond that I guess, hope and dream OS that Orange sky wont be such a miracle for people and something that is available to everyone”

I just realised that in this whole story I have not referenced the impact on our friends, the power of Orange Sky’s service or the outcomes that our friends receive. But, maybe they are one and the same for the people that take time out of their lives to volunteer. To feel connected to something bigger than themselves, to be part of a genuine community and to have amazing conversations!

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