Accessibility Tools

Image of a young girl with disability. She sits in a chair and is wearing headphones.

COVID- 19 restrictions have created opportunities for peer groups and families to connect and meet in different ways. Online and offline, people with like-minded interests are communicating and sharing. Support groups have been moving to video-calls. Virtual coffee catchups are in. We also highlight FriendLine, a phone service for a chat.

For some People with Disability, this is not a new idea. They have been using the internet to stay connected long before 2020 and coronavirus. It is the unique ways that people are connecting, and the creativity involved that makes it exciting.



FriendLine is for anyone who needs to reconnect or just wants a chat. It's not a crisis service, and is staffed by volunteers.

Free call 1800 424 287 between 10 am - 8 pm 7 days a week.

Online chat during 5 pm - 8.30 pm Mon, Wed, Thur


From Sports galore contests, Auslan Hours, Trivia Nights, Board Games, to Online Art Classes, and Workout Challenges. Whatever the interest area or hobbies, groups and friends are taking to social media or video call platforms to have fun together. Groups are starting based on interests. They join together on activities like baking challenges, or epic choir sing-alongs.

On Facebook, groups like Blind Citizens Australia, Queenslanders Disability Network, Physical Disability Australia, Speak Out Association of Tasmania, Community Disability Alliance Hunter, Diversity and Disability Alliance, are advertising events they are holding. Zoom connections and Facebook Live group catch-ups are taking place to keep social distancing restrictions and keep each other safe. Civic@Home is a program by Civic Disability services with Live Art and Music Classes, Live fitness Classes, an Online Disco, and more. Interchange Outer East have ideas for keeping busy at home.

Offline Connections

You can stay in contact with people who do not have internet access. 

Old-fashioned is new with Pen Pals. Sending handwritten letters to friends and or family. Adding a little sparkle through the post. The addition of confetti, sequins, and creating artworks on envelopes is sure to brighten a friends day. You could even mail a favourite teabag/ coffee pod,  magazine and warm socks to a friend as Happy Mail. Add a note to "sit back, have a cuppa and enjoy". Children can send artworks to grandparents.

Having a Birthday party? Mail out “Party bags” with sweets, balloons and a treat to friends who haven’t been able to join a child for a celebration.

Offline, chalk pavement drawing has been popular with children. They decorate their neighbourhoods with kind words and images for anyone walking along the footpath to read. 

Phone chains (Phone Trees) have also been popular. You ring a friend, they ring a friend, who rings another person… One call after the other for a catch-up. The Anglican Church of Southern Queensland explains How to create a phone tree.

There is also Telecross. They now have an additional COVID Connect service which does not require being registered with the NDIS or My Aged Care. You can register online or by phoning 1300 885 698. The regular Telecross service is available through both the NDIS and My Aged Care.  


Happy mail. A white envelope with a smiley face coming out

For Bayside and Holdsworth Community Members

Bayside Council and Holdsworth Community know that a friendly chat from trusted people can make all the difference during these times.

We aim to connect you up with a friendly volunteer with similar interests for Holdsworth Community for

  • A friendly weekly chat
  • Telling a story of your choice
  • Contribute to a newsletter
  • Participate in Games and Competitions

This project will run from July to September 2020. For more information or to register your interest contact Council’s Age and Disability Specialist on 0413 045 757or send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Further reading

Women With Disability Australia Has information on making the most of online groups.
IDEAS blog on Staying Connected
What to do in Isolation is based around school holidays, but if you are looking for offline activities for all ages, IDEAS put together this list. 
Tips to get you through a Stay-cation or Isolation is a list of activities online and offline to help you pass the time. 
Staying Safe Online our blog has information from respected sources on how to stay safe online. 
Shopping Safely Online has tips on how to be secure when online shopping.

IDEAS does information so you can do life.