Children in the NSW town of Tamworth have been colouring the streets in chalk to help spread some cheer as residents grapple with coronavirus shutdowns. This weekend, the children will use their chalk to write messages of thanks to essential workers.
While COVID-19 has left the streets of Tamworth in northern New South Wales all but empty, they may never have been so colourful.
A week ago, Tamworth mother Joanne Stead and a team of local volunteers delivered bundles of chalk to families around town in an attempt to "brighten up the streets".
Since then, the town's children have been using the chalk to draw colourful pictures and encouraging messages around Tamworth.
"It was a great way to get the kids out into the sunshine and it definitely brightened up our streets," Ms Stead told SBS News.
"It was a good way to open up conversations about the helpers in our community and why we’re trying to brighten up the streets. It’s something that the kids can feel they’re contributing, too."
Tamworth residents have posted hundreds of pictures of the resulting artworks on social media and in a local Facebook group called Tamworth True.
Ms Stead said Tamworth is set to be covered in chalk again this weekend, with children this time writing messages of thanks to the essential workers helping to keep their community running.
"There's a lot of businesses that have had to change really rapidly, some that have had to shut their doors, and we know there’s a lot of front line staff copping abuse from anxious clients and customers," she said.
"So we really want to put a focus on all the things we should be grateful for at the moment, especially all the essential workers still going to work."
Ms Stead said she and other volunteers are also organising the town's Easter hat parade to take place online this weekend, to make sure the children don't miss out on the annual event.
People in Australia must stay at least 1.5 metres away from others and gatherings are limited to two people unless you are with your family or household.
If you believe you may have contracted the virus, call your doctor (don’t visit) or contact the national Coronavirus Health Information Hotline on 1800 020 080. If you are struggling to breathe or experiencing a medical emergency, call 000.
SBS is committed to informing Australia’s diverse communities about the latest COVID-19 developments. News and information is available in 63 languages at sbs.com.au/coronavirus