The NSW Settlement Partnership’s quarterly meeting in June considered operational updates, working group reports and emerging settlement needs and opportunities.
It also heard about initiatives with youth, housing and employment and new approaches to delivering settlement grants activities.
Dor Achiek, Settlement Services International’s Youth Projects Coordinator, provided an update on activities of the Youth Collective, including those that contributed to Global Refugee Youth Consultations undertaken in NSW. He said young people had raised a diverse range of issues, including concerns about safety (in Australia and in home countries), food, housing, health, language barriers and education.
Mr Achiek later took the outcomes of the consultations to UNHCR NGO consultations in Geneva. They also were fed through regional consultation processes in Australia and the Asia Pacific region.
Metro Assist provided an update on the Parents Next program, designed to help parents re-enter the job market after children have gone to school. It is a partnership project involving Metro Assist and SSI, with referrals coming from Centrelink. Eligibility is primarily for women whose caring responsibilities have changed.
Patrick Yeung, SSI’s Manager Housing Services, spoke about an initiative being piloted to provide more affordable accommodation to recently-arrived refugees.
NSP members enthusiastically described their Settlement Innovation Fund projects.
The fund was established within the NSP to develop and test new approaches to delivering settlement grants activities and build capacity to respond innovatively in areas of emerging and unmet need. Its focus is to provide opportunities to develop and trial collaborations and partnerships, and to support engagement and input from settlement target groups themselves.
Other priority areas include projects that
- explore options to build on the productive diversity of target groups
- address youth and women
- complement and build on existing settlement projects in the areas of employment, education, English and housing
- are based in regional and rural areas.
Illawarra Multicultural Services has a Men Mentoring Men Project that focuses on developing healthy relationships and role models for young men through peer-to-peer contact. It targets youth from refugee and humanitarian backgrounds and finds creative ways to express their concerns and build positive gender relationships.
Manning Valley Neighbourhood Services holds Kitchen Table Conversations for newly arrived women on the Mid North Coast to ascertain their service needs and desires.
The Melkite Catholic Welfare Association and Liverpool Migrant Resource Centre organised “Courageous Journeys: A Family Portrait”, a photography arts project that engages newly arrived refugees, who articulate their hopes and dreams as they make a new home.
Northern Settlement Services and the Great Lakes Agency for Peace and Development International are collaborating in the Mingoola Resettlement Initiative. The joint project answers an emerging need for frameworks and support for rural resettlement in far north NSW. NSS, the NSP partner responsible for service provision in the area, partnered with GLADPI to investigate support needs, develop a community support framework and document the resettlement process for families from Africa’s Great Lakes area who are moving to Mingoola. Settlement factors include access to education, services and employment.
Sydney Multicultural Community Services holds New Job, New Start employment workshops for women who may be entering the workforce for the first time or re-entering the job market.
SydWest and Nepean Migrant Access are collaborating in an Access to Tenancy project, working with local real estate agents to strengthen housing opportunities for clients in the Penrith local government area.
The next NSP quarterly meeting will be held in September.