From July 2015 to June 2016 NSW Settlement Partnership (NSP) helped many thousands of clients through casework, services, community coordination and youth settlement.
Partners delivered more than 362 education and employment sessions and provided more than 9,000 casework sessions reaching more than 7,500 clients.
- Key issues addressed included:
- Health issues
- Immigration assistance
- Domestic violence and family issues
- How to access services, information and referral
- Orientation of Australian systems and laws
NSP members delivered 900 group sessions reaching over 6,129 clients. Sessions assisted clients to become more self-reliant and successfully settle in Australia. Domestic violence and family relationships, health issues, how to access and use services, and immigration assistance were the most common topics covered.
Nepean Migrant Access, in partnership with the NSW Health Bilingual Education Program, delivered five information sessions as part of its Iranian Women Health Program. Twelve women were enrolled in the program, and the sessions covered breast and cervical screening, arthritis and diabetes information, family planning and mental health.
Dubbo Neighbourhood Centre delivered information sessions covering community health, domestic violence and fair trading, among others.
The Khmer Community of NSW delivered more than 10 group sessions in the period, reaching more than 180 clients, and Sydney Multicultural Community Services conducted visits to women’s refuges to provide information on services.
The Great Lakes Agency for Peace and Development International (GLAPD) conducted unique group sessions on peace building and conflict resolution. GLAPD held four community consultations with community members from Uganda, Rwanda, the Republic of Congo and Burundi which identified the importance of establishing a dialogue for peace. Partnering with the University of Sydney Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, GLAPD conducted four conflict resolution workshops and held four inter-community dialogue workshops.
Resources and promotion
NSP members have produced multiple resources to support and assist clients, including newsletters, flyers, translated forms and service directories. Members have also utilised pin-up boards, social media sites and their websites to communicate support services to clients.
Bathurst Information and Neighbourhood Centre distributed a Regional Multicultural Services Directory.
Dubbo Neighbourhood Centre produced a Dubbo Community Guide Directory which was included in the New Residents Pack distributed by Dubbo City Council to new residents to the city.
NSP members’ services were actively promoted to clients, with more than 187 promotional activities conducted. Promotional materials including flyers, brochures and cards were produced by members to highlight available services and events.
Bathurst Information and Neighbourhood Centre exceeded its target, conducting eight promotional activities during the period, including hosting stalls at International Women’s day and the Bathurst Family fun day.
NSP members conducted housing related casework and 35 information sessions supporting over 442 clients on tenants’ rights and responsibilities, and housing application processes.
Liverpool Migrant Resource Centre made 107 referrals to crisis and community housing agencies.
Core Community Services (CSS) devoted substantial resources to providing housing assistance. CCS assisted 140 clients in completing forms such as new application forms and change of circumstances forms. CCS also assisted 70 clients with NCAT Tribunal applications in relation to repairs to premises and claiming rental bonds. Further, 291 short contacts were made by CCS with clients on housing matters.
The NSP carried out a number of initiatives to support community leaders including capacity building and mentoring sessions, and conflict resolution workshops.
In recognition of new Syrian arrivals, SydWest Multicultural Services provided four training leadership sessions for the Syrian Community Association in NSW. Seven leaders attended each training session, which aimed to develop their capacity to advocate for their community’s needs, leading to the formation of the Syrian Community Association in NSW.
Other NSP members partnered with mainstream organisations to support identified community leaders. For example, Khmer Community of NSW supported clients in the Fairfield Emerging Leaders and Advocates program, which aims to increase advocacy and leadership skills among participants.
NSP members have assisted local communities to establish and grow their own associations. The Liverpool Migrant Resource Centre (LMRC) was a standout in this area exceeding its targets to support community leaders and groups. For example, LMRC provided support and advice to the newly established Australia Fiji Community Integrated Association to achieve its goal of organising a series of football games to engage young refugees. The LMRC assisted with the development of a budget and sponsorship letter, gave advice on securing funding, and provided space for meetings.
NSP partners engaged 255 volunteers and continue to utilise and train volunteers to support the activities of the Settlement Services program. Volunteers are often engaged in providing English tutoring and supporting member organisations in activities like managing online resources.
Gymea Community Aid and Information Centre (GCAIC) engaged 45 volunteers during the period as English and homework tutors, for the settlement support and refugee support groups, as driving mentors, and to provide administration and finance support. GCAIC supported volunteers by delivering two volunteer training sessions and holding tutor meetings to facilitate information sharing and build support networks.
GCAIC has also received funding from SSI for the Link Together Project, a volunteer buddy program. Five volunteers have been recruited and a project worker employed to facilitate the project. Further, 10 volunteers have received workplace experience and training to support future career aspirations.
NSP partners have delivered multiple education sessions relating to family harmony.
SydWest Multicultural Services delivered 59 family harmony workshops in the reporting period covering topics including family violence, child protection, family conflict resolution and parenting training. 830 clients attended the workshops.
Macarthur Diversity Services held 12 parenting and family workshops, and four family and relationship sessions during the period.
A variety of life skills sessions were provided by NSP members. Topics included swimming and water safety, financial management, personal safety, environmentally friendly practices, nutrition and health, and child development.
Melkite Catholic Welfare Association held more than nine life skills sessions. Topics included; healthy eating, budgeting and energy efficiency.
Illawarra Multicultural Services provided 14 Fire and Safety Information Sessions.
At Chinese and English bilingual playgroup sessions, Sydney Multicultural Community Services delivered information about police safety, opal cards and child development to parents and grandparents.
NSP members provided employment and job seeking sessions for clients covering topics such as resume writing, interview techniques, job seeking strategies and workplace culture.
Auburn Diversity Services held 31 employment workshops as well as 38 employment oriented computer classes. More than 397 clients attended these workshops.
Great Lakes Centre of International Peace and Development held a career workshop in Fairfield in collaboration with Poise Coaching and Consulting. The workshop engaged 20 clients from new and emerging Ugandan, Rwandan, Congolese and Burundian communities.
Advance Diversity Services delivered 13 employment workshops reaching more than 200 clients. Topics included the Hidden Job Market & myGov, Getting Local Work Experience, Starting Your Business, Dress Presentation and Tools for Finding a Job.
NSP members have also provided mentoring to jobseekers. Community Migrant Resource Centre provided mentoring support to 45 clients as part of the Ready Steady Work program.
The NSP has continued to foster partnerships with a range of job services and educational agencies including local TAFEs, University’s, and Jobactive, to develop employment pathways for clients.
Core Community Services has established formal and informal partnerships with agencies such as TAFE, MTC Australia, Bright Hospitality, Mission Australia and Jobactive providers. Utilising its partnerships, CCS has placed 37 jobseekers in employment in the areas of construction, community services, age care and disability.
Northern Settlement Services has partnered with the Tomato Farm in Guyra and Meatworks in Tamworth and Inverell to support clients gain work opportunities in regional areas.
Different NSP members have a range of social enterprise initiatives they are involved in, including a café at Macarthur Diversity Services Inc.
NSP partners have continued to support conversation sessions to provide clients with the opportunity to practise English.
Advance Diversity Services ran a five week course on how to use English for Real Life Situations which included sessions on going to the doctor, shopping, navigating social situations and using interpreting services. The sessions were attended by more than 20 participants who reported more confidence in conversations and greater familiarity with services after completing the course.
Melkite Catholic Welfare Association ran weekly conversation classes during the school term. A total of 35 sessions were held during the period.
Members host and support a wide range of groups to assist clients to develop social networks and participate in the broader mainstream community. Common groups are women’s support groups, multicultural groups, and settlement support groups.
Nepean Migrant Access exceeded its support group target, delivering 107 sessions in the period to an Iranian support group, Bhutanese group, Japanese group and a multicultural group.
These groups have helped to develop social support networks, reduce isolation and promote integration of clients into mainstream society.
NSP partners have developed relationships with mainstream agencies to promote and represent client needs. Activities include: participating at forums and conferences, joining advisory groups, participation in research projects, and attending interagency meetings.
Manning Valley Neighbourhood Services attended 21 interagency meetings across the service area to promote its services, build relationships and advocate for its clients.
NSP partners provided over 509 casework sessions to support young migrants and refugees during the period. Common activities recorded at sessions included; advice on financial, housing, driving and health issues, support regarding employment and education pathways, and strategies to reduce social isolation.
Of note, Metro Assist provided 30 youth with specialist housing support including providing assistance in the coordination of lease agreements and in the submission of the NSW Housing assistance applications. In partnership with SSI and Centrelink’s Community Service Engagement Officer, Metro Assist produced an issues paper on the factors around homelessness among recent arrivals.
NSP members delivered life skills sessions to youth regarding employment, financial management, and Australian systems.
Community Migrant Resource Centre held over 20 life skills information sessions during the period. Attendance ranged from 10 to 24 participants at each session. Sessions were delivered alongside recreational and sporting activities to encourage participation.
Northern Settlement Services in partnership with Manning Valley Neighbourhood Services organised a youth cultural exchange trip to Taree and Port Macquarie schools which aimed to engage young people with life in Australia. Twenty refugee students participated in discussion groups, cultural learning, and sporting activities. Positive feedback was received from students citing the positives of the activities in breaking down barriers and stereotypes.
A number of homework support classes were conducted by NSP members.
Gymea Community Aid and Information Centre delivered a variety of classes. A Homework Club was held weekly during school term which assisted 16 students, and a Refugee and Migrant Tutoring Program provided five students with one on one tutoring.
NSP members reported homework sessions resulted in improved understanding of educational requirements and the Australian education system among participants.
NSP partners have provided leadership and mentoring training to identified youth during the reporting period, and supported clients to engage in youth forums and summits.
Auburn Diversity Services hosted the Western Sydney Refugee Youth Awards in June 2016 to recognise outstanding achievements of refugee young people in community leadership, creative and performance art, academia and sport.43 nominations were received from 14 different schools and service providers.
Settlement Services International coordinated, facilitated and delivered 43 activities to support the NSP operations and consultations processes (including quarterly meetings, working parties, settlement services managers’ teleconferences and others.