UPDATE: Grampians Pyrenees Primary Care Partnership executive Suzannah Burton said her organisation was delighted to receive a funding extension.
"It temporarily secures the future of our five staff, and will importantly allow us to support local health providers and our 40 member agencies to prepare, respond and lead recovery from COVID-19," she said.
"We have 100 per cent transitioned to working remotely and have moved our networks, steering committees and where possible project work online.
"We're building our capacity around social media through which we're constantly sharing information and we have created a COVID-19 resource on our webpage which we regularly update to keep our communities up to date with important information.
"Our focus will continue to be around health and wellbeing and particularly at this time we are conscious of our communities' mental health and wellbeing."
Ms Burton said the Grampians Pyrenees PCP is leading a social media campaign for Active April campaign where the community is posting selfies demonstrating creative ways to keep fit and healthy during lockdown.
"We're working with Bush Nursing Centres to create 'Giving Wheelbarrows' with sites established in Elmhurst and Lake Bolac," she added.
"These initiatives allow communities to 'share their spare' groceries and essentials with those who may not be able to safely shop.
"We're also coordinating local food delivery systems so those in more remote areas can have access to fresh food and supplies."
Ms Burton added Grampians Pyrenees PCP will continue to support great initiatives in the community such as Resilient Ararat, IDAHOBIT and its fortnightly newsletter.
"Our goals for the rest of the year will no doubt evolve dependent on the global pandemic; however, we will be supporting partners in a way which will continue should our funding cease on 31 December 2020.
"We'll be building local datasets around health and wellbeing statistics in our local government areas of Pyrenees Shire, Ararat Rural City and Northern Grampians Shire, which can be used by community organisations for service planning and funding applications.
"We're also very keen to support our local government partners and partners in prevention to develop council and municipal health and wellbeing plans."
EARLIER: Amid all of the COVID-19 pandemonium, Wimmera Primary Care Partnership is celebrating some good news - a funding commitment from the Victorian government through to December 31, 2020.
Before the April 2 announcement, Wimmera PCP's funding was only guaranteed until June 30.
Chief executive Geoff Witmitz said the news could not have come at a better time for the organisation's seven staff members.
"This funding extension has given us time to assist agencies during the COVID-19 pandemic," he said.
"Our staff now know they have secured work until the end of the year.
"They can now get on with focusing on the community."
Established in 2000, Wimmera PCP is one of 28 primary care partnerships across Victoria, bringing together local health and human services to improve access and ongoing care for the community.
This is the second PCP funding extension by the state government in the past six months, following a similar announcement in October 2019.
The long term future of all 28 PCPs remains in doubt as they undergo a review of their role in the health industry by auditing agency KPMG Australia.
"This review has been ongoing for the past 18 months and there has been a lot of uncertainties during that time," Mr Witmitz said.
"We (Wimmera PCP) is unique compared to other partnerships.
"We cover an area of more than 28,000 square kilometres, but we can provide a localised response.
"We have very rich data and support from several agencies."
Mr Witmitz said the region faces several challenges, including an aging population and significant gaps in mental health services.
However, the federal government's renewed focus on telehealth puts Wimmera PCP in a prime position.
"We have had many great successes with telehealth in the past," he said.
"We have seen success in post-cancer treatment, with telehealth enabling people to stay at home and recover rather than drive hours to receive check-ups.
"We know how to deal with isolated communities and we aim to help the government deal with this COVID-19 crisis."
The Wimmera PCP is made up of 29 member agencies, including local government, welfare, disability, primary health care, health services, social services and education.
It services a population of 35,940 including the local government areas of West Wimmera, Yarriambiack, Hindmarsh and Horsham Rural City.
While you're with us, you can now receive updates straight to your inbox twice weekly from the Wimmera Mail-Times. To make sure you're up-to-date with all the news from across the Wimmera, sign up below.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.