$60,000 Seals Refugee Welcome Centre Staff

Inner West Council and the Justice and Peace Office of the Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney are delighted to announce $60,000 in funding that will provide two on-site personnel at the Callan Park Refugee Welcome Centre in Rozelle.

In further good news, Settlement Services International (SSI) has confirmed that it will provide a weekly service in 2017, which will begin when the coordination staff are placed.

The funding is being provided by the Catholic Archdiocese through its Justice and Peace Office as part of a memorandum of understanding to offer day services to arriving refugees in the grounds of historic Callan Park. The funds have come from the “Archbishop Anthony Fisher Syrian Refugee Appeal” and raised from people across the Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney.

Inner West Council will continue to provide the venue, and assist with transport to the Centre, and is also creating an app that will connect refugees to local services with the help of local volunteers.

Inner West Council General Manager Rik Hart said that it was extremely good news to see progress at the Centre gather speed.

“Our thanks go to the Catholic Justice and Peace Office for their extremely generous contribution to the Refugee Welcome Centre,” he said.

“This is the boost that the Centre needs to cement the place of the inner west in supporting people from around the world who have suffered unimaginable hardship.

“This innovative project was set in motion by former Councillors Simon Emsley and Darcy Byrne.

“Our staff have worked extremely hard behind the scenes over the last six months to move this project forward and I congratulate everyone involved on their efforts.”

Reverend Peter Smith said that the Justice and Peace office of the Catholic Archdiocese were very happy to be working with the Inner West Council and Settlement Services International.

“We have always been of the opinion that welcoming refugees is the responsibility of all of Sydney, not just the Western suburbs,” he said.

“People of the Inner West have many gifts and talents that can enrich the lives of refugees.”

The funding will provide for two part time staff on site in Callan Park to coordinate services offered through the Centre. Council is working with SSI to develop the 2017 program at the Centre.

Council staff are also developing a new mobile app to connect refugees to local support services and offers of help.

“We have invited all of the residents who volunteered help when the Centre was first announced to be a part of this ground breaking app,” said Mr Hart.

“We’ve also invited Council’s other volunteer databases and the community in general to contribute. The response has, once again, been extremely supportive and we thank the community for their generosity of spirit.”

Council is working towards a local launch with our local partners in celebration of the Centre to coincide with Harmony Day on 23 March 2017.

Contributions can be made to the Archbishop Anthony Fisher Syrian Refugee Appeal at www.catholiccare.org/Syria

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