Building Social Connections
Strive is a social group and conversational English class for newly arrived women from a refugee background in the Liverpool LGA. Strive purposes to support women in building social connections, improving their English, strengthening skillsets and capacity building whilst reducing risks of isolation. The group helps women in their general integration into society through activities that work to develop a sense of belonging by creating an inclusive and welcoming space.
Western Sydney MRC established a project, Lead the Way, that addresses pervasive unemployment and low social participation for newly arrived migrants and refugees in the South West Sydney region. The project takes a traditional model of service delivery and aims to incorporate innovative use of local business volunteers to engage and support participants in their settlement journey. The project seeks to re-create a successful job club at Western Sydney MRC, with the addition of the provision of job seeking support mentors, from local leading businesses and industry.
The Lead the Way Youth Employment Program 2017 is proudly funded by the LMA and DSS and brought to you as part of the The YEL-OW initiative, a partnership between Western Sydney MRC and the LMA whom both deliver a wide scope of youth and employment programs and services around various parts of Sydney and outskirts. Each company offers youth employment expertise exchange, capitalising on each other’s strengths. The partnership program is to deliver intense targeted industry readiness training and preparation to refugee youth in the Liverpool and Fairfield local government areas.
Both organisations offer various youth programs and share the same program mission. Collaboration provides additional streams of support that are currently not covered. Western Sydney MRC are able to demonstrate extensive experience in providing services to the Refugee youth market and are an active member of major youth networks around Sydney. Four key principle leads are proposed to drive the deliverables of the proposed program to meet the objectives to:
This program is aimed to prepare participants for part-time work targeted towards the retail and hospitality industry.
This program is aimed to prepare participants for various work arrangements targeted towards the industries who facilitate supply chain logistics.
The focus of the program is to in-still an introduction to the supply chain management and all activities and roles required to support the industry. In addition, the practical components apply self-driven application with the expectations of participants seeking work experience and coaching them through all aspects of the process. The outcome is that the participants will develop work-ready skills and knowledge to equip them to seek future employment in the logistics industry.
This program is aimed to prepare participants for future work in the health services sector. The content of the program is focused on the Healthcare industry and all aspects of sub-set specialization such as age care nursing and disability support. A key focal point is towards disability support service as an enabler on the basis that persons skilled in disability support can find immediate work experience whereas age care health and other sub-sectors, would require higher qualifications to begin work placement. This program would provide valuable preparation and insight for participants wanting to pursue further studies in aged care. Therefore, the strategy is to gain experience within the health industry by entry of disability support.
The Community (Amazing) Race was a huge success this year, with 32 eager young people across 9 teams running in the Race. Teams raced against each other in a series of physical, creative, and educational puzzles and challenges. They improved their sexual health knowledge with FLYHT, made shelters out of cardboard with Anglicare, pizzas at Cucina105, created fun ads at the Western Sydney MRC, made stress balls with Headspace, and helped promote an important health message with SWS Wellbeing.
The Amazing Race Liverpool is a regular NSW Youth Week event run in partnership with Liverpool City Council and awesome local youth services. The Western Sydney MRC hopes to continue this great partnership and run the event yearly.
This year, the Mesopotamian Emperors took first place, followed closely behind by AGS and Era Band in second and third. The first three teams were awarded Westfield vouchers and all participants received vouchers for free popcorn and drinks at Events Cinemas.
The Mesopotamian Emperors
Team and the winner is
Team Era Band
Team Funky Angels
Who will win next year?
Western Sydney MRC has paired with Newtown-based social enterprise, The Social Outfit, to run an eight-week program for young girls.
The Social Outfit is a social enterprise based in Newtown that functions to promote employment within the fashion industry amongst people from refugee and migrant backgrounds. This includes training in clothing production, retail, design and marketing; empowering people through the development of skills whilst working to eliminate risks of social isolation.
Jess from The Social Outfit will join us at our Liverpool office every week, facilitating classes with our group of young girls that promote confidence, socialisation and the development of new skills. Participants will have the opportunity to learn different styles of design through various art forms and will eventually have their individual projects collated into a pattern that will be turned into a beautiful piece of fabric. The collaborative print will be used to produce unique garments that will then be modelled by the young girls!
What is the Welcome Dinner Project?
The Welcome Dinner Project (an initiative of the non-profit organisation joiningthedots) brings together newly arrived people and established Australians to meet one another and strengthen the sense of community over a pot-luck shared meal. This project is spreading rapidly throughout Australia, creating a platform for connections between people from diverse cultures! Welcome Dinners are always guided by trained Welcome Dinner Project Facilitators, so that any language barriers, other barriers or differences can be navigated in a safe and welcoming space.
Come along to our Welcome Dinner to find new friendships, community links and supportive connections. This is a great opportunity for people to meet others in their local area without any barriers.
With such an amazing response to Liverpool’s Welcome Dinner in 2016, held at the Liverpool MRC, The Welcome Dinner Project came together again with Liverpool MRC and Liverpool City Council to host a second.
Casula Powerhouse, was built in 1951 by the NSW Electricity Commission, the Casula Powerhouse (then known as the Liverpool Powerhouse), was one of a series of identical buildings erected to supplement electricity production during winter and power shortages. In 1955 the 250 foot stack was erected, replacing four shorter chimneys. Residents had complained that the smoke from the powerhouse dirtied their washing. It is now home to a wide range of exhibitions, events and educational programs and covers an ever-increasing variety of subject matter, styles, genres and art forms.
With easy access via public transport as well as plenty of parking, it seemed like the perfect choice of location to host the next Welcome Dinner.
As always the Welcome Dinner Project aims to connect newly arrived migrants and refugees with established Australians, creating connections through commonalities, food and the sharing of a meal. Over 80 people were in attendance coming from Parramatta, Fairfield and Liverpool as well as surrounding areas.
We also had attendance by the major of Liverpool, Wendy Waller and Uncle Steve gave an acknowledge to country.
Liverpool MRC staff were in full force with 8 attending staff and 2 volunteers. We had certainly learnt that this is a hands on event!
Set up took around 2 hours, and even though the Powerhouse is very much its owns space, we managed to transform the reception’s blank canvas into a large communal dinner for 80! With rows of tables for ten, decorated by flowers, plates, cups and refreshing drinks, it became the perfect setting to welcome guests, and you could almost feel the tables calling to the delicious culinary dishes that were soon to arrive. With colourful bunting and large prints of welcoming faces, guests were sure to feel welcome and settled in this new space.
On arrival guests were welcomed and asked to include on their name tag their passion. Popular passions included music, travel and food, with some interesting ones including laughter, swimming, dancing and gardening.
After a short reception wait, guests were officially welcomed by Liverpool Major Wendy Waller followed by Uncle Steve’s Acknowledgement to Country as well as a short historical lesson on Aboriginal Heritage and the land on which Casula Powerhouse is built.
Children’s Activities were provided by Liverpool MRC with an array of activities including drawing, building and problem solving, giving parents an opportunity for an always welcome break.
It’s all about the food! With guests sharing the story behind their dish, they began to share food, laughter and recipes. From sisters cooking dolmathes to family’s selection of rices, salads and curries. A delicious rocky road made its way from table to table and the smells of multicultural cooking are sure to still be lingering in the powerhouse’s walls!
Guests shared their experience, and their delight at having such a wonderful dinner, meeting new friends, trying new foods and learning new words in multiple languages.
By the end of the evening the air was full of laughter and chatter, of smiling farewells and hugs goodbye.
This Welcome Dinner Project brings people together and creates connections through the sharing of culture, food and passions, and we can certainly say that Liverpool’s second dinner was a success.
A big thank you to everyone who attended and committed to taking a step outside of their comfort zone to get involved. Also a very big thank you to the Volunteers for donating your time to assist us in set up and running of the event. These types of events are not possible without your dedication and commitment to making a difference.
Individuals could get involved with the RYPMP as either a mentee, or mentor. Mentees are young people aged 17-25 from a refugee or refugee-like background. We also welcomed referrals for young people aged 15-16 at risk of disengaging from education.
Mentors were people aged 21-35 who are keen to spend time with a young person. We asked mentees and mentors to commit for 12-18 months and to meet at least once monthly. We ran group sessions and hang-outs on a regular basis.
Mixed Activities And Meet-Ups
We designed a flexible, mixed-mode mentoring program that strives to enhance the economic, social and civic participation of young people and enhance their personal wellbeing and sense of self.
Imagine And Create
We were able to guide our youth in making socially valuable contributions through our new and exciting youth mentoring program, particularly in the areas of education, employment and efficient delivery of support services.
Arts on Prescription
Western Sydney MRC is partnering with HammondCare to bring their ground-breaking ‘Arts on Prescription’ program for over 65s to Liverpool.
The program prescribes arts as an alternative to medicine with experienced artists working with small groups to help participants explore their own creativity and learn new skills, while at the same time focusing on specific health and wellness needs.
Now in its second year, the program will be offered free of charge to our clients and communities for the first time.
This program sits under our Family Support portfolio, and we believe that…
for many of the people who use the MRC, art has been integral to their culture and is an important connection to their past. The program will allow them to re-engage with a previous interest or develop a new one. The program will bring people together for an hour or two of fun where they can be involved in an activity that allows them to express themselves.”
Arts on Prescription Manager and Artist, Michelle Heldon, said creating art can help with a range of wellness needs from anxiety, depression and fragility, to people experiencing social isolation or going through periods of bereavement.
Beyond was a program that aims to create a positive environment for local young women, from refugee backgrounds aged between 14-19 to network with female role models.
The program provides a platform for lifelong inspiration, skill-sharing and having fun. Beyond facilitates the building of positive relationships within youth peer cohorts and works to develop the confidence of young women in decision making and accessing the larger community sphere.
Beyond is specifically designed for young women who are from newly arrived refugee backgrounds, having arrived in Australia less than 5 years ago.
The Beyond Young Women’s Group runs each Thursday between 4pm-6pm at various locations throughout Sydney.
The program aims to:
The program was designed based on:
Community HeART is a collaborative local arts project that brings together three local artists to complete a public mural conveying a message of Welcome to newly arrived refugees and migrants to the Liverpool area.
Community HeART is a Western Sydney MRC project bringing 3 artists together in a collaborative arts project to design a public mural conveying a message of ‘Welcome” to newly arrived refugees and migrants to the Liverpool area. Our diversity makes Australia a great place to live. Harmony is celebrated through our cultural diversity, our acceptance, our learning and our cultural respect for everyone who calls Australia home. We welcome new people, new families and new cultures to Liverpool every day.
Each artist contributes a unique visual representation of welcome and diversity, that when combined reflect the strength in diversity and cross-cultural collaboration.
Mazin Ahmad, is a Liverpool based Artist, studied in the College of Fine Arts in Baghdad and has worked on many art projects in Sydney. Helen Proctor is a Sydney based artist with a current focus on abstract landscape paintings. She studied at COFA and has exhibited in a number of group shows and solo exhibitions (www.helenproctor.com). Buddy Martin, also known as Biggie Billa, is an Indigenous artist who art reaches across Sydney, Queanbeyan and as far as Queensland.
With the mural now complete, we are excited to unveil the 4 metres long art piece. The project will see the melding of three distinct local cultures towards a beautiful, emotive and expressive mural that welcomes and celebrates new arrivals into the vibrant and diverse Liverpool LGA.
Courageous Journeys – A Family Portrait
Emma McCarthy & Meredith Stuebe developed the idea of the Courageous Journeys: A Family Portrait project after deciding to capture family portraits in celebration of Refugee Week 2016.
“Many of the families we work with have been through the unimaginable – long periods of separation and uncertainty while remaining defiant and strong,” says Emma.
They both have previous casework experience from the Western Sydney MRC and already knew some of the families who participated in the project, making that moment of capturing their journeys all the more special.
The Western Sydney MRC in partnership with The Melkite Catholic Welfare Association launched the Courageous Journeys: A Family Portrait photography exhibition at Bankstown Arts Centre, last Thursday 23rd June 2016. It was an evening of story-telling and strength.
Over 70 people attended the launch and special tribute was paid to the participant families who, for the most part, were also present on the night. “We are honoured to witness a snapshot of their journey and thank them for sharing it with us,” says Western Sydney MRC CEO, Kamalle Dabboussy.
Due to the popularity and interest, the team decided to hold another showing of the portraits at the book launch, sharing the final chapter of these Courageous Journeys. We are also honoured that all but one of the participant families were able to attend and it was a very special celebration.
Photographer: Saskia Wilson
Designer: Kirrilee Phillips, Illume
ABOUT COME DINE WITH US
The Western Sydney Migrant Resource Centre have teamed up with Western Sydney University to take social cohesion to the next level. We are excited to invite you to participate in a safari supper hosted by our wonderful, talented friends who we have supported to settle into a new life in Australia. Prepare to be wowed by the delicious middle eastern meals and welcomed into the warm ambience found in the heart of the home.
Nedhal & Monther are a brother and sister duo who are passionate about giving back to the community. With decades of experience in helping new arrivals settle into the community, Nedhal & Monther are role models for successful settlement and are influential leaders within the Mandaean community.
Abeer, her 8-year-old daughter and brother Mohammed arrived in Australia in February 2018. During their short time in Australia, they have secured accommodation and employment through proactively using their strengths and expertise and their inherent resilience to overcome adversity.
Find a full list of their recipes on our resources page.
Rebrand / Name Change – FAQs
We understand that you may have additional questions regarding our name change from Liverpool MRC to Western Sydney MRC. If you need any additional information please don’t hesitate to contact us.
When did we change our name?
The name change from Liverpool MRC to Western Sydney MRC has been effective since 1st August 2017.
Why have we changed our name from Liverpool MRC to Western Sydney MRC?
The years past have been full of opportunity, growth and change at the Liverpool MRC. We are now focusing our efforts in new spaces and growth opportunities & the first step was a rebrand. We’re the same people with the same commitment to our community, clients and existing partners.
What does the new logo mean?
The new logo has many meanings and interpretations.
The circle is a representation of our unity, protection, cultural integration, connection and worlds to name a few.
The colour palette represents our diversity, with colours of hope, confidence and passion.
What do I need to change at my Organisation level?
Our official organisation name is: Western Sydney Migrant Resource Centre often shortened to Western Sydney MRC
Our NEW ACN number is: 619 937 227
Our existing ABN remains the same: 24 881 173 229
Will your email addresses change?
All email addresses have been updated. Please ensure you update your contact details. The new format organisation-wide is firstname.lastname@example.org. All staff, including additional support emails, such as info@, cpp@ etc will have this new format.
What do I need to change when invoicing or paying Western Sydney MRC?
With any new invoices that are issued to us, they need to be updated to the new company name, Western Sydney Migrant Resource Centre.
All existing and new contracts will need the name updated
Our bank details will have a change of name to Western Sydney MRC, however all other details remain the same.
Does the name change impact our / your clients?
We are the same people with the same commitment to our clients and community. Our settlement services will remain operational within the Liverpool LGA as per the current service delivery.
There are no changes to our clients directly regarding services however other referring organisations will need to be made aware of the new name for their own paperwork, systems etc, as well as updated referral forms.
Has your referral process changed?
Our referral form has been updated. The standard process for client referral is unchanged. See the links below.
The federal government has replaced the Community Proposal Pilot (CPP) with the new Community Support Program (CSP)
The Community Proposal Pilot (CPP) was a program in partnership with the Department of Immigration and Citizenship.
As you may be aware, Western Sydney MRC (formerly Liverpool MRC) has been working with the community to lodge applications under the CPP in its role as an Approved Proposing Organisation (APO) for the last 4 years, between 2013-2017.
The CSP is an entirely new program for which Western Sydney Migrant Resource Centre is NOT an Approved Proposing Organisation (APO).
We will continue to work with existing clients to finalise active applications under the CPP, however no further applications can be made under this program.
Under the CSP, applicants must be from CSP priority groups. These are people who:
For more information about the CSP and APOs
If you have any questions please send us an email at email@example.com
DropZone is a smorgasbord of activities including, DanceFit, BoxFit, Circuit Training, Mui Thai and more and encourages our young people to stay fit and active. Alongside the physical program, healthy lifestyle activities including snack and food preparation also incorporated.
Sarah Elfoul, our Youth Worker tells us more about the program DropZone; “The group is made up of young people from the age of 12 to 19 from a range of local schools and involves a diverse mix of cultures and community groups. We promote social inclusion and an environment where everyone is equal. The session starts with a bus collection from school promoting attendance. We hope to encourage independent attendance as the DropZone program progresses.
With the variety of activities, we’ve seen the participants engaging more and more after each session. Our Mui Thai instructor has been a source of inspiration, showing skill, technique, discipline and strength.
Our young people are at a stage in life where they want to be challenged, which the circuit training session definitely does. With both strong male and female mentors, the program to date has been a success for all. Working with adults that respect and give them the opportunities to grow and excel is an important part of the mentoring journey. Dancing has been a challenge for some, different styles of dance have encouraged them to use their bodies in distinctive ways and the thought of dance as a form of fitness is a new concept to our group.
We encourage attendees to review the activities delivered. If deemed a success, then the session activities are repeated with additions and improvements based on the feedback. The group encourage us to adapt and have become owners of their program.
We are providing new connections within the community, allowing our young people to feel safe, secure and supported across all domains.
We have been able to teach and support a number of skills from following instructions and empowerment to leadership, mentoring and building confidence. An inclusion of Trivia Q&A sessions adds another educational component to the activities, ensuring that we are working all the important muscles of the body including the brain! The program facilitates new friendships and a sense of belonging amongst the group, who are now able to self-regulate and encourage one another to aspire for greatness, engage and stay switched on throughout the sessions.
It is our hope that through these types of programs, we can help to create young leaders, giving them the skills and capability to create and design their own programs. Our group are driven by insight and passion, they know what they want and how they want these programs delivered.
We hope to inspire and create a welcoming space for all, a space to feel respected and heard. We are providing new connections within the community, allowing our young people to feel safe, secure and supported across all domains.
A massive thank you to Kaine and the team at PCYC. The dedication is unsurpassed and we are excited about what the future of our partnerships hold. Thank you for making us and our community feel welcome and at home. DropZone has proven to be a great success”