FindHelpTAS provides a wide ranging, publicly accessible, independently managed dataset of services and activities that support the health and wellbeing of Tasmanians and our communities.
FindHelpTAS came about when a group of Tasmanian community service organisations decided to take action to address the ongoing issue of needing current information about local services and activities.
“At the time each of the organisations were trying to maintain lists of which organisation was providing which services in their areas and referring clients as needed,” explained Leah Cleary, the Project Officer of FindHelpTAS.
“Maintaining a list like this takes a lot of time and effort. This is where they decided to form a unique partnership and work together with the common goal of developing a central source of service information to support Tasmanians in need.”
The organisations initially combined their data and developed a central, easy-to-use public website with service categories.
“Once the first website was ready to go live,” Clearly explained, “TasCOSS took on the ongoing management of the website, and currently supports the partnership group to guide and direct the project.”
The first version of the website ran for four years. TasCOSS then upgraded the site in late-2019 after gathering feedback from users.
“We now have a larger, more modern and flexible platform that addresses many of the issues and improvements that our users had fed back to us,” Cleary said.
“But we are continuing to work on improvements as conversations with our industry continue.”
TasCOSS has also designed the site to work on mobile phones and in low or intermittent internet areas.
Currently, there are 874 program listings from than 400 different organisations from across the state.
TasCOSS has been getting positive feedback about the site’s layout, map view, and the login options.
“People can see the information they’re finding is current, and the program pages provide more information than ever before,” Cleary said.
2,700 Tasmanians have visited the site so far this year.
How has COVID-19 affected the FindHelpTAS website?
“It has had a huge impact on FindHelpTAS with everyone requiring accurate, up-to-date information about what services are available,” explained Cleary.
“The site is currently being used by two Tasmanian call centre services to find information for callers. We have linked in with a number of peak bodies who were also collecting information for their representative communities and wanting somewhere to store it all. We have also developed a new COVID-19 category for the overarching information and then updated individual services with information as they adjusted their service delivery methods.”
Where does TasCOSS see FindHelpTAS going in the future?
“We see FindHelpTAS continuing to grow and respond to the needs of the community services industry,” Cleary said.
She adds that the biggest strength of the project is that all parties involved are Tasmanian, are members of the community services industry, and are in ongoing open conversations with peak bodies and people accessing the services on offer.