By Melissa Meehan
Doctors and arts workers are not two groups you would usually use in the same sentence but coronavirus has brought them together.
Faced with an uncertain future, many doctors don’t know who will be able to care for their children if and when the pandemic peaks.
And government restrictions have forced many arts workers into the unemployment lines.
But Melbourne woman Eliza Charley has turned two negatives into a positive.
She created Doctors without babysitters (meet Arts Workers without work).
It’s a private facebook group aimed at matching doctors and health workers in need of childcare with arts workers in need of work.
It only started last week and already more than 1500 members and is rapidly growing.
“I was at a family event and my two cousins, a doctor and nurse were talking about what they would do for childcare when it (coronavirus) peaks,” Ms Charley said.
“I know 100s of people who have lost their jobs already because all of the major musicals and shows have been shut down and thought I think I could find someone.”
Armed with a good idea and common sense, Ms Charley set to work, ensuring all the safety checks were included.
By Wednesday the group was online and growing organically.
“I shared the page on an online arts network I am part of and my cousin posted on one of her Doctor mum’s facebook groups,” she said.
“And my housemate, who is also a doctor at a Melbourne hospital with COVID-19 patients, shared it on his work group.
“It’s just grown from there.”
She said while other essential workers were also in need of support, it is important for her to keep the group mandate clear and strict.
“I hope out story empowers other people to set up groups for those workers,” she said.
Some famous names have popped up in the group – with many familiar faces looking to help where they can.
“Some of our doctors are actually getting a little star struck of some of the people in the group,” she said.
“And have been impressed by the time the arts workers are spending on their posts.
“Being creative people, their posts are fun and engaging.”
Those looking for babysitters can also search for arts workers close by – reducing the need for unnecessary travel.
The group started as Melbourne only – but has gone national in the last week.
“I knew we were in a specific niche, but didn’t expect it to grow so quickly,” she said.
“A lot of dual medical families are saying ‘please help us’.
“They don’t have family nearby or don’t want to risk the health of grandparents.”
If you are a healthcare worker or arts workers check out the page here.