A message from our CEO about COVID-19

Mar 20, 2020

Whitelion works with some of the most vulnerable young people in Australia. In this time of unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic our first thoughts are for the safety of the young people we work with, our staff, students and volunteers.


Whitelion is acting decisively and quickly even as the situation continues to unfold around us.


Key principles that underpin how we have approached our COVID-19 response are:

  • Calm, care and kindness to self and each other
  • Consistent, clear and transparent communication
  • Adherence to government and health authority advice and guidelines

Key objectives that underpin our decision-making, as far as is possible and practical:

  • Staff, young people, volunteer and community safety
  • Minimise impact on critical services for young people
  • Minimise revenue decline
  • Protect staff jobs and employment
  • Ensure long term sustainability of the organisation

What does this mean for our work with young people?

Like many organisations, Whitelion is limiting face-to-face contact across our services. A small number of programs that can reduce risk through risk assessment and maintaining social support with physical distance, will continue for now. We are reviewing the situation multiple times a week.


This is unprecedented for our sector - to deliver human services under pandemic conditions and maintain quality support without in-person contact is a challenge that we must rise to. It is not a time to lose hope, but rather look to how we can use technology and creativity to overcome this current disruption to service delivery.


What does this mean for Whitelion staff and volunteers?

Whitelion is encouraging staff to work from home, and for volunteers to follow the same risk procedures our entire workforce are employing.

At all times we are being guided by advice from federal and state health authorities and Fair Work Australia.


What does this mean for Whitelion events?

Whitelion is funded by a combination of government grants, corporate sponsorships and philanthropic supporters. We also have an incredible group of donors who give regularly, and give to our biannual campaigns. In addition, Whitelion relies heavily on fundraising events - especially our national Bail Out campaign held annually in May and June.


We can not hold physical fundraising events this year, but we will let you know our plans for upcoming digital campaigns. We understand this is an economically difficult time for all Australians, so please know we appreciate your support more than ever.


Whitelion board and leadership are meeting frequently to adapt our response as new information arises in this dynamic situation. We have established an internal COVID-19 taskforce to focus solely on steering the organisation through this time.


We will provide updated advice to our community via the website and social media. For now we are confident in our decision to give our workforce the choice to be safe by working from home; our decision to limit contact via services so we won’t risk taking infection into vulnerable households; and most importantly that we are contributing to global efforts to slow the spread of disease by reducing our face-to-face interactions.

If you have specific questions please do not hesitate to contact a member of our COVID-19 taskforce:


Rowena Middlemiss, Director of Strategy, Marketing and Communications rowena.middlemiss@whitelion.asn.au


Hang Vo, Chief Executive Officer hang.vo@whitelion.asn.au