Awhi-at-home ‘superstar’ was a lifeline for families

Elizabeth Goodwin and her team became a lifeline to families during lockdown. Her work coordinating online support has won her a place as a finalist in the Attitude Support Superstar Award.

‘Going hard and early’ into the Covid-19 lockdown left parents of disabled children isolated. Government agencies and sector organisations could not respond fast enough and there was no central channel available for parents seeking information and help.

Seeing the need, Elizabeth and her team launched the Awhi-at-home Facebook page within a week of the move into Alert Level 4 and it quickly became an online community where parents could support each other. Soon government and sector agencies were posting information to the page to connect with parents.

Many parents were posting late at night and in the early hours, and Elizabeth was there responding at all hours. As the convenor of Awhi-at-home she supported parents around the clock.

She directed the focus of the page, she chaired the Awhi team and coordinated the responses to parents from other parents, professionals and Ministry representatives to make sure no family was left isolated and without support.

She took the lead in making sure that Awhi responded to what families needed and after listening to them she decided to shift the emphasis from providing resources for children to providing help and information for parents.

Now, post-lockdown, Awhi continues as a whanau-driven collective, collaborating to create social change by informing, connecting and nurturing people linked by disability.

The Attitude Awards are a nationally televised event celebrating the achievements and successes of New Zealanders living with disabilities. Elizabeth was nominated by IHC.

The 2020 black-tie event will be held on 2 December in Auckland, to recognise people from the sector, including employers, employees and entrepreneurs, as well as, athletes, young people, and game-changers in the sector.

Photo caption: Elizabeth Goodwin with her grandson Jesse and daughter Jessie.