Updated: June 29

As the ongoing global health emergency regarding Coronavirus (COVID-19) develops, genU is taking proactive steps to protect our people, our clients, our residents and our community.

Our response to this situation is being guided by expert advice from State and Federal Governments and health organisations — but our commitment to providing ongoing care for the entire genU community remains steadfast in these uncertain times.

During these challenging times, we continue to be ready to support our clients.  We provide essential services to many people and will continue to do so while we can do so safely.

genU would also like clients, families and carers to share their experiences of the COVID-19 pandemic and the 2019/2020 bushfire season, so that we have a better understanding of how these emergencies have impacted on people with disability.

Click the link below to share your experiences.

Share your experiences


Easy Read Information for Clients and Workers


COVID-19 Accessible Resources


In order to continue supporting you, we’ve had to make changes to our services.

Further details on individual programs can be found below.

Supported Accommodation

We continue to be guided by expert advice from State and Federal Governments and health organisations.

Health screening of residents is being undertaken and they are being monitored for signs of respiratory illness. In the event there are any signs of illness, the resident will be supported to isolate and seek medical attention.

Our employees are also being monitored and have been asked not to attend the workplace if they have any signs and symptoms of being unwell.

Visiting is limited to essential visiting only. Visiting is only carried out if essential for the health and wellbeing of the resident.  All visitors will be screened upon entry and asked to sign a declaration that they are well.

Our staff are being directed to stay at home with residents unless it is essential or required to go out.  Some residents have circumstances that will be supported individually.

Staying in touch with external friends and family is being strongly promoted.  We are using technology to further assist with electronic communication and if families wish to connect via phone or social media, please make individual arrangements as required.

Individual Support

Individual support workers continue to support clients on a 1-1 basis as needed.

We have also commenced online and virtual activities so that people can remain connected.

All personal support workers have access to Zoom on their tablets as well as the internet to assist clients with technology questions.

Our support workers can:

  • Help you access Zoom on your device, to connect with friends or family, genU or other services
  • Assist you to download apps to on your own device to connect with others
  • Assist you to download games, access online tutorials and events on your own device
  • Use Zoom to undertake a shift with your support worker, if you would prefer not to have in person support

The NDIS has expanded funding so that anyone with an NDIS plan can access Support Coordination. Our Support Coordination sessions are being conducted via phone or video link wherever possible, but in-person sessions are available if required.

The Employment Pathways team are also offering online, phone and some face-to-face sessions to support you during this time and help you build your employability skills.

Shop 4U is a new service where genU will assist you with your grocery shopping.  Our staff will help you make choices and organise your order over the phone and assist you to purchase a click-and-collect or home delivery order.

The Support for Carers Program is a unique program that provides exactly what it says – support for our valued Victorian carers.  It might be helping you to get groceries, set up online shopping, escorting you to medical appointments or even for some in home respite.  Each Carer’s situation is unique, so if there is something that you think would help you in your caring role – please give us a call to discuss.

For further information about any of these options, please contact us on 1300 558 368.

Day Programs

Day programs in groups are recommencing with small group numbers.  genU Participate creates connection and engagement through a wide range of programs. This includes arts and crafts, cooking, gaming, music and more! We have also commenced online and virtual activities so that people can remain connected.

Pipsqueaks Early Learning Centre

In line with advice issued by the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC), our services continue to operate at this time, but with risk mitigation measures in place.

All Pipsqueaks staff have received the influenza vaccination and we would strongly suggest that all children and their parents also receive the vaccination.

On the 6th April 2020, the government released an Early Childhood Education and Care Relief Package. As of that date, the Child Care Subsidy (CCS) was no longer in place. This meant that no hours based on activity tests and no gap payments for parents to pay — all child care would be free. This package will end on Sunday 12th of July.

As of 13th July 2020, centres will be charging full child care fees again and the CCS system will be back in place.

Retirement Villages

In line with government directives we are gradually easing the restrictions in Barwarre Gardens and St Laurence Park. In consultation with the village committees we are reviewing and updating our plans regularly.

Residents and staff are all working to put in place new initiatives to help residents feel supported and connected with one another, families and the village management teams:

  • The in-home TV channel enables us to broadcast information directly to residents in their homes
  • Residents are driving a number of initiatives to keep the village connected and active, through activities such as wellbeing groups, street marching groups, walking groups and driveway drinks.

For all new enquiries we have moved to appointment only consultations at our sales office, and our Sales Manager is available to speak to you over the phone at a time that suits you.

Residents are being encouraged to consider using phone or video calls to enable regular communication with family members and friends.

Costa House

To be added to this page: https://www.genu.org.au/support-services/aged-care-services/residential-aged-care/

In line with directions issues by the Federal Government in relation to infection control in Aged Care Facilities, there have been a number of changes made at Costa House during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The number of visitors and visiting hours have been reduced in line with Industry Code for Visiting Residential Aged Care Homes during COVID-19 and the Victorian Government, Deputy Chief Health Officer (Communicable Diseases) Directions.

  • Residents of care facilities, including aged care, can have up to two support visits each day.
  • Each resident can have no more than two visitors per day across a maximum of two visits.
  • The visitors can come separately or together, for a single visit or for two separate visits
  • The total amount of visiting time must not be more than two hours. This can be one visit of no more than two hours or two visits totalling no more than two hours. For example, each visit may last an hour each.
  • The total length of time for visits in a day must be for no more than two hours. The only exception is if visitors are supporting end-of-life care to a resident of a facility.

The following people will not be permitted entry to residential aged care facilities including Costa House (Including staff, contractors, delivery persons, etc):

  • People who have returned from overseas in the last 14 days
  • People who have been in contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 in the last 14 days
  • People with fever or symptoms of acute respiratory infection (e.g. cough, sore throat, runny nose, shortness of breath)
  • People who do not have an up-to-date (i.e. 2020) influenza vaccination and cannot provide evidence of such e.g. Vaccination certificate, letter from GP.
  • Children aged under 16 years

Visitors must:

  • For resident visitors, conduct visits in a resident’s room or outdoors, rather than in a communal area where the risk of transmission to residents is greater. Visitors are not permitted to walk around the facility visiting/talking to others
  • Show or provide evidence that you have received your 2020 influenza vaccination.

All visitors must continue to practise social distancing, including maintaining a distance of 1.5 metres between yourself and others at all times.

Visitors must comply with infection prevention and control measures in place at Costa House.

As well as the above mentioned restrictions, entry requirements include

  • being required to respond honestly to screening questions about COVID-19 risk factors,
  • complying with which mandatory hand hygiene and being temperature checked upon arrival.
  • Entry and exit is only via the front doors of Costa House and visiting times are strictly between 10am and 6pm daily.

NOTE: There are some circumstances which visiting can be adapted. For example, residents at end of life/palliative care. This is arranged on an individual basis with facility management/staff.

If there is a suspect or actual outbreak of COVID-19 or a suspected/known case of COVID-19 within Costa House, there will be increased visitor restrictions implemented which may include exclusion of visitors.

Family and friends are being encouraged to maintain contact with loved ones within the visiting restriction limits and by phone, other social communication apps, and via the visitor’s window. Appointments can be made via reception – time limits apply.

We suggest that all visitors call ahead to ensure they are able to meet all requirements prior to visiting or if appointments are required. Please contact reception, PH: 5220 8437.

Residents continue to be supported in Leisure and Lifestyle via a number of varied programs:

  • Volunteering is via programs such as ‘Pen Pal’, genU Letter Project and ‘Voice Chat’ volunteering.
  • Activities are provided in small group settings and individual programs within the facility. Extra staff have been utilised to ensure residents remain supported.

Residents continue to be encouraged to remain at the facility unless it is essential for them to go out e.g. Attend essential medical appointments (hospital, doctor, necessary test) on approval and under special conditions, for compassionate reasons, exercise e.g. walk, maintaining social distancing, Special social visits pre-approved by the Director of Nursing or Clinical Coordinator and under special conditions.

All precautions in place are there to protect the elderly living at Costa House and those who support them.

We thank everyone for their assistance and cooperation during this time.

Eric Hart Centre

The Allied Health team at the Eric Hart Centre are offering one to one support for their current clients across services in physiotherapy, dietician, hydrotherapy and gym. Small group exercise programs have been re-opened, with social distancing measure in place according to government guidelines.

For clients not attending Eric Hart during COVID-19, home-based exercise programs are available and are monitored by staff over the phone or by video.

Clients who have booked into appointments need to self-monitor their health and cancel if they are feeling unwell. Temperature checks are in place for a staff and clients prior to commencing any services at Eric Hart.


In line with the latest advice from the Victorian Government our in-person volunteering program remains largely “on hold” until further notice.

Our Virtual Volunteer program continues to provide a safe avenue for our volunteers to work from home, whilst reaching out and providing much needed social support across our Ability and Aged Care Services

Now more than ever before, elderly members of our community and people living with disability, need our support and continued engagement to promote their mental health and stay socially connected. As a Virtual Volunteer, you can provide a vital social support services to our clients, with flexibility and from the comfort of your own home.  Our virtual volunteers are donating their time, through regular voice calls, video chats or letter writing, and e-mentoring!

To make a positive difference in someone’s life, check out our the virtual volunteering opportunities on our website.

Business Enterprises

The team at Business Enterprises continues to operate, but with changed offerings and some workplace restrictions in place to ensure we comply with government directives.

Our Seasons Catering team are now offering home delivery of boxes of fresh daily market produce, pantry staples, refrigerated products, fresh bread and ready to heat meals.  For more information, check out the Seasons website here.

Seasons cafes have adapted to serving takeaway coffee and meals. They all stock a range of delicious and nutritious take home meals for you to heat and serve at home. Some cafes are now allowing up to 20 people to dine as seated guests — see below for updates on each Seasons cafe:

  • Douro St — will continue as take-away only for the time being.
  • Eastern Hub, McKillop St — is accommodating seated diners, limited to 20 people only. Diners must leave their contact details.
  • genU Support Hub, Reynolds Road — is accommodating seated diners, limited to 20 people only. Diners must leave their contact details.
  • Barwon Water, Ryrie St — remaining closed for the time being.

Our nurseries in Geelong and Colac remain open and now have vegetable seedlings available to purchase via phone order: (03) 5231 4164.

Our land care and business solutions teams are still operating and are available to speak to you and answer any enquiries you may have. Enquiries can be sent through to beenquiries@genu.org.au or give them a call on (03) 5277 2180.


Although we can’t offer training face to face at this point in time, there are a number of ways in which you can connect with us and study with us.

We are now offering online training programs through our Virtual Training Rooms.

In response to the current environment, we are offering a number of free courses every month for the remainder of 2020, so there is no better time to study for a new career.

Head to our website or contact our training team on 1300 582 687 to find out more.


Our employment services have predominantly switched to phone and online appointments, which means we can all stay connected while keeping our communities safe.

During these challenging times, there are several industries that are experiencing increased demand and are looking to hire staff.  Please call us on 1300 13 23 63 to talk about how we can support you.


What is Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Source – Australia Government Department of Health

COVID-19 is a respiratory illness caused by a new virus.

Symptoms of COVID-19 can range from mild illness to pneumonia. Some people will recover easily, and others may get very sick very quickly.

People with coronavirus may experience:

  • fever
  • symptoms such as coughing, a sore throat and fatigue
  • shortness of breath

The virus can spread from person to person, but good hygiene can prevent infection.

For further information, visit:  https://www.health.gov.au/news/health-alerts/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov-health-alert/what-you-need-to-know-about-coronavirus-covid-19

How do you protect yourself?

To help slow the spread of COVID-19, practise good hygiene and social distancing and follow the rules for public gatherings, quarantine and self-isolation.

Good hygiene

Everyone must practise good hygiene to protect against infection and prevent the virus spreading.

When you practise good hygiene you:

  • cover your coughs and sneezes with your elbow or a tissue
  • put used tissues straight into the bin
  • wash your hands often with soap and water, including before and after eating and after going to the toilet
  • use alcohol-based hand sanitisers
  • avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth
  • clean and disinfect frequently used surfaces such as benchtops, desks and doorknobs
  • clean and disinfect frequently used objects such as mobile phones, keys, wallets and work passes
  • increase the amount of fresh air available by opening windows or adjusting air conditioning

Social distancing

Everyone must practise social distancing to slow the spread of coronavirus.

The more space between you and others, the harder it is for the virus to spread.

Social distancing in public means people:

  • stay at home and only go out if it is absolutely essential
  • keep 1.5 metres away from others
  • avoid physical greetings such as handshaking, hugs and kisses
  • use tap and go instead of cash
  • travel at quiet times and avoid crowds
  • avoid public gatherings and at risk groups like older people
  • practise good hygiene

Steps for social distancing in all homes include:

  • keeping visitors to a minimum
  • regularly disinfecting surfaces that are touched a lot, such as tables, kitchen benches, hand rails and doorknobs
  • increasing ventilation in the home by opening windows or adjusting air conditioning

Public Gatherings

Public gatherings significantly increase the risk of COVID-19 spreading.

Stay at home unless you are:

  • going to work or education (if you are unable to do so at home)
  • shopping for essential supplies such as groceries, return home without delay
  • going out for personal exercise in the neighbourhood, on your own or with one other
  • attending medical appointments or compassionate visits

There are many useful resources available that you might find of assistance:

COVID-19 Accessible Resources in Easy English

SBS in language information about coronavirus https://www.sbs.com.au/language/coronavirus

How to look after your mental health during COVID-19

Good ways to stay connected


For up-to-date information from reliable sources, please keep informed with the Australian Government Department of Health: https://www.health.gov.au

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