Young vulnerable mums and their children are feeling a little less isolated during the COVID-19 lockdown thanks to the work of staff and volunteers at the Kingsgrove Community Aid Centre.
During lockdown, the centre has had to temporarily suspend its Poppy Playgroup for young mothers with mental health concerns..
But Hana, the Poppy Playground coordinator has been contacting all the mums regularly and Zoom meetings have been in full swing.
The staff even delivered care packages for Mother's Day to group members.
Mel, one of the mothers who use the playgroup has found ongoing support from Kingsgrove Community Aid Centre during lockdown and has been able to keep in virtual contact with the centre staff and other mothers.
" Poppy Playgroup is hands-down the best playgroup I have attended with my two daughters and I have attended many in the past three years," Mel said.
"I feel really comfortable with the staff and other mums as we discuss motherhood and mental health. My three-year-old loves the group so much and I really appreciate that as she doesn't want to return to another group elsewhere.
"During the Covid-19 pandemic, I myself have really felt the love and care from Hana and the team as they continue to make sure as a mother, that with my mental health issues, I am not alone.
"It is quite stressful having the two babies at home, in a unit. To know they are only a click away is support towards my anxiety. We cannot wait to get back to the Poppy group."
Bec, another of mothers from the Poppy Playgroup suffered from postnatal depression.
"This group provided a space that made me feel that I wasn't alone," Bec said.
" Everyone is so welcoming and caring which allowed me to get the courage to come back almost every week," she said.
"Getting out of the house at least once a week when you're a new mum with postnatal depression is such a huge challenge but in having a safe space like this, I was able to do it on a semi regular basis.
"It helped me to feel a bit more like my old self by socializing and having adult conversation. Without this support I would have been in a much darker headspace.
"Even during COVID there has been contact the video chat, phone calls and text messages to help me feel connected. "
Eli only joined the Poppy Playgroup in March, 2020.
"This was a time when the lockdown started. It was totally isolated from outside and was anxiety provoking time," she said.
"Thanks to Poppy Playgroup I feel safe and supported, and although I haven't seen face to face, everyone is welcoming and warm.
"This group is where I share my worries, my stories, my happiness without being judged. It's a positive space to connect with other mums. It make me less stressed out and able to laugh and relax.
"We share funny pictures, share ideas, self care, learning from each other."
Young mum, Mon has yet to have a face-to-face meeting with the other mothers in the group but has found the virtual meetings a comfort.
"Even though I haven't been able to personally attend Poppy Playgroup yet, I have found the WhatsApp group a comforting presence in what has been a very difficult time of my life," Mon said.
"Hana's regular WhatsApp messages have helped me feel connected and knowing there are other mums who suffer from anxiety and depression makes me feel supported," she said.
"The Mother's Day gift from Poppy Playgroup, which Hana personally delivered, was a thoughtful gesture. I was having a bad day and this immediately lifted my mood.
"I look forward to being able to attend this group with my toddler, once the COVID-19 pandemic is over."
To find out more about hte Poppy Playground, phone Kingsgrove Community Aid Centre on 02) 9150 7823.