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MACE Incorporated were recently successful in obtaining a $20,000 Local Community Access Grant through the Victorian State Government Department of Families, Fairness and Housing. This program is supporting the delivery of activities that reduce Coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine misinformation and hesitancy, remove practical barriers to getting vaccinated, and improve uptake of the vaccine among priority groups across Victoria.

MACE’s proposed program, Age-Friendly Vaccination Transportation, was approved by the Department with enthusiasm. It will deliver free technology sessions and ride-share options to those aged over 55 in the community, with precedence made for residents in outlying communities.

“We are excited to be able to provide relevant, free, accessible programs to our community,” says MACE CEO, Kylie Richards; “These are the opportunities residents have been asking for, and thanks to the employment of a new Project Officer, Bonnie Clark, who is passionate about community development, we are increasing our capacity to answer our communities needs”.

“This program has two main priorities; increasing confidence and increasing access”, says Ms Richards. “We will focus on outcomes related to advancing general digital skills and giving our community access to the MSOAST ride share program, to increase transport options”.

The free technology sessions will include assistance with using your smart phone or tablet to access information online, book appointments, download your COVID-19 vaccination certificate, and any other general usage requests. Participants will then learn about the MSOAST program and how it could benefit them to sign up as a driver or share as a passenger.

The MSOAST program is a car-pooling system which enables residents to access a ‘seat to town’ into Mansfield and beyond. The system is based on the goodwill of the Mansfield Shire community assisting each other to support an Age Friendly community. Whilst the outcome is to increase and improve transport options for our over 55 residents of Mansfield Shire, the program is not limited to over 55’s, so all ages can benefit.

“We know that digital knowledge and transportation are big barriers to our community accessing the information and appointments they need to keep their health up to date”, says Ms Richards. “We believe that by bringing free technology sessions to our outlying communities, and increasing participation in the MSOAST program, we will be addressing some of these barriers”.

The free technology sessions will be available in locations across the Shire based on interest, including Bonnie Doon, Merton, Goughs Bay, Jamieson, Merrijig, Tolmie, and Mansfield town. Each session will run for two hours, and there will be options to attend during or outside of work hours’. Existing community groups and organisations are also able to host private sessions for their members. To find out when the next session is running near you, contact MACE on 5775 2077

If you know of a community who would benefit from free technology sessions and learn about the MSOAST ride share program, contact MACE on 5775 2077 or email Bonnie Clark,

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