Migrant support services

Inner West Council provides a range of support to newly arrived immigrants, refugees and humanitarian entrants.

Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS)

The Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS) can be used by members of the public to contact and speak to Council staff.

TIS National is an interpreting service, provided by the Department of Immigration and Citizenship, for people who do not speak English and for the English speakers who need to communicate with them.

TIS National has more than 30 years of experience in the interpreting industry, and has access to over 1900 contracted interpreters across Australia, speaking more than 170 languages and dialects. TIS National is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for any person or organisation in Australia requiring interpreting services. It provides immediate telephone interpreting services, as well as pre-booked telephone and on-site interpreting.

When you ring TIS state the language you require and you will be connected to an interpreter over the phone. If your matter is more complicated, lengthy (more than 15 minutes) or involves the explanation of legal or technical terms, TIS service can arrange an interpreter to attend an appointment with you to assist with this matter.

This is a FREE service. TIS phone number: 131 450

English classes

Together with Metro Assist, Council provides free English classes for community members who experience difficulties communicating in English.

Classes are held:

  • Mondays 10am – 12 noon
    Pratten Park Sports Recreation and Bowling Club
    Ashfield 
  • Fridays 10am – 12 noon
    Ashfield Civic Centre, 260 Liverpool Road
    Ashfield

Both classes break during school holidays.

These volunteer run classes aim to help participants to improve their English, learn about Australian culture, make new friends and increase their knowledge of supports available to them including community services.

This program is funded by Wests Ashfield Leagues.

For more information, please ring Council on (02) 9392 5813 or email sarah.harrison@innerwest.nsw.gov.au

英語會話課程

你想練習和提高你的英語水平嗎?

然後來我們的免費英語會話課程!

时间: 学校学期期间的每个星期五上午10点至12点
地点: Ashfield Civic Centre, 260 Liverpool Road, Ashfield
费用: 免费
自备: 一个可循环使用的水杯在早茶休息时使用

更多信息可致电 97161700 或发邮件至 dinaz.rather@metroassist.org.au

Our libraries also offer free English classes. Click on the button below for more classes.

English classes at the library

Multicultural social support group

In partnership with Metro Assist, Council offers a multicultural social support group for migrant and refugee families living in the Inner West.

The group meets every Monday during school terms. By participating in the weekly activities, you will have opportunities to meet other families living in the area, make new friends, learn about Australian culture and local services, as well as take part in some interesting activities. You are welcome to bring your children with you to the group activities. For more info about the group and the activities, please contact Dinaz Rather on 9798 1700 or Dinaz.Rather@metroassist.org.au

Chinese language help desk

In partnership with Chinese Australian Settlement Services (CASS) Council provides a FREE Chinese Language Help Desk. This volunteer run service provides support to Chinese speaking residents who experience difficulties communicating in English. The service helps people to understand correspondence and engage with government departments – e.g. Medicare, Housing. Volunteers can assist with filling in forms (excluding visa or immigration forms).

This service is available at Ashfield Civic Centre, 260 Liverpool Road, Ashfield every Monday from 10–12pm. For an appointment please call CASS on (02) 9789 4587 (press "2" for reception).

The New Locals Inner West App

New Locals Inner West is a smartphone application (app) which has been designed to support and assist people who have recently arrived in Australia and the Inner West either on a humanitarian visa and or seeking asylum. Other people that are new to Australia and/or the inner west may also find it useful. 

For more information including downloads for Iphone and Android, click on the button below.

New Locals Inner West App

Settlement services in the Inner West

Chinese Australian Service Society (CASS)

CASS assists newly arrived Chinese-speaking migrants with settlement concerns including housing, employment, education as well as health & welfare issues through free face-to-face casework and referral services. The service is supported by the financial assistance from the Australian Government.

For more information visit the CASS website

Phone (02) 9789 4587 – Press '2' for Reception

Metro Assist

Metro Assist (formerly Metro Migrant Resource Centre) provides a range of community services including migrant settlement, family support and early intervention, emergency relief, tenancy services and community development.

Metro understand that when people arrive in a new country it can be overwhelming.  There are many things that need to be organised, including housing, education and employment. Problems with language can also make the transition to this new life difficult. Settlement Services organisations, such as Metro Assist, are here to help. They provide services to new arrivals in our community that make this transition easier.

Metro's services are free of charge to new migrants and refugees within the first five years of their arrival. Services are available to people living in Bankstown, Canterbury, Ashfield, Strathfield, Burwood, Marrickville, Inner West and City of Sydney.

For further information on settlement services visit the NSW Settlement Partnership website

Asylum Seekers Centre

Practical ways we can support people seeking asylum:

  • Support the Asylum Seekers Centre’s emergency relief efforts by organising food drives
    ASC always needs food and toiletry items such as cooking oil, instant noodles, rice and long life milk, as well as laundry powder, nappies and sanitary pads. The Asylum Seekers Centre website has a detailed list of food and toiletry items people need the most.
  • Help through employment
    If you are an employer who might be able to help, please contact the Centre’s Employment Coordinator Alex Taylor:
    Email: employment@asylumseekerscentre.org.au
    Phone: 02 9078 1900
  • Help people stay in accommodation while they look for a job
    Donations will enable ASC to continue to provide essential frontline services, including helping people stay in accommodation while they look for employment.

The Centre’s website has a detailed list of food and toiletry items people need the most.

Refugee Welcome Centre

The Community Refugee Welcome Centre has been established at Callan Park, and is operating under a partnership agreement between Inner West Council, Justice of the Peace Office of the Archdiocese of Sydney, and Settlement Services International (SSI).

The Centre was officially opened during Refugee Week in 2017.  Since March 2017 more than 2000 refugees and people seeking asylum have engaged in programs and activities delivered at the CRWC.

A part time Centre Coordinator (10 hours per week) was appointed in July 2017. The Justice of the Peace Commission of the Catholic Diocese of Sydney secured the funding for this part time role, which will further enhance activation, local services and activities provided, and engage volunteers in welcoming activities.

Activities held at the Centre to date

  • Storytelling workshops towards 2 publications (partnership with TAFE NSW and UNSW)
  • School holiday programs (art and sport)
  • Pathways to Fashion Production (partner with TAFE and Social Outfit in Newtown sewing lessons)
  • Refugee week programs (platform for refugee artists and performers)
  • Learn to swim program and water safety (Council sponsored at LPAC)
  • Orientation and consultation (your voice your strength) sessions for newly arrived refugees
  • Volunteer training (Human Rights Approaches for volunteers supported by TAFE NSW)
  • Women’s Dance (wellbeing program)
  • Refugee Women pathways to employment
  • Family picnics to promote arts and wellbeing for refugees
  • Professional Development Workshops for Refugee Artists and Volunteers (supported by TAFE NSW)
  • Co -design of programs/activities and workshops
  • CRWC strategic planning with community partners.
  • Partnership with UTS Shopfront design centre to develop CRWC Logo, branding and social media communications

Volunteer Orientation and Training has been undertaken with 22 local volunteers completing Human Rights approaches to volunteering with refugees to support local programs.

We are establishing an AMEP conversation language program at the center in partnership with TAFE.

The centre continues to develop programs and activities based on co-design and community development principles. The centre is a unique location that brings people to a point of connection, which benefits both local and newly arrived refugee communities.

The Community and Refugee Welcome Centre uses a Human Rights based approach in all aspects of its operations, programs, governance and engagement with people from refugee backgrounds, with particular focus on capacity building using education, arts and culture to facilitate participation, empowerment and well-being.

The objectives are to design and deliver programs identified by refugees themselves using principles of community development, and we actively seek to ensure all programs are co –designed and co-led. The CRWC Advisory group is made up of key stakeholders to support and ensure viability of all centre activities

For more information contact

Ingrid de Meyer
 ingrid.demeyer@innerwest.nsw.gov.au or 9335-2146

Moones Mansoubi
Refugee Welcome Centre Coordinator (Part time Mondays and Fridays)
mmansoubi@ssi.org.au or 0488 680 397

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Page last updated: 18 Mar 2019