Listed below are just some of the many ways you can get involved with the work of the Blue Mountains Refugee Support Group. These range from writing letters which you can do from home or with a group to being part of our visitors program.
Changing Hearts and Minds
We aim to widen public understanding of refugee and asylum seeker issues through:
- Advocating for fair treatment of those seeking asylum through social media and main stream media,
- Writing submissions and engaging with politicians,
- Involving our schools and young people in a range of activities such as speakers, theatrical events and the Christmas ‘Welcome Shoesbox Project’.
TAKE ACTION Write to your politician
From time we are asked to write to politicians. We offer guidelines and addresses to Senators and Members of the House of Representatives.
Writing Letters Read more
Join the BMRSG Writing Group
BMRSG Writing Group meets on the second Thursday of the month at 11 am at the home of Judy Reynolds in Leura. Members write to politicans on a current topic relevant to refugee issues. New members encouraged. Come when you can.
If you are interested contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Help with Events
We are always looking for people who can help organise events. When an event is scheduled we often ask for help with selling tickets, serving tea and coffee, manning a stall, selling raffle tickets, etc. If you would like to help with events please email email@example.com
In 2019 BMRSG is supporting 80 households of asylum seekers in Western Sydney (a household may include more than one family). Many of these people have been cut off from the Centrelink’s SRSS program, leaving them with no financial support at all. The assistance that we provide is absolutely necessary for people to maintain their lives here at the most basic level.
We are also seeing deportations of asylum seekers back to places where they are likely to experience persecution including imprisonment, torture, even execution. A barrister can issue a writ which stops this process until the case is heard in court. Lives can be saved in this way but barristers are expensive.
The BMRSG needs to raise more than $50,000 each year to maintain its important and necessary commitments to refugees and asylum seekers.
If you are interested in assisting with fundraising activities such as organising events, selling raffle tickets, helping with online campaigns, providing afternoon tea for events etc. contact George by email firstname.lastname@example.org
Donations of Goods
From time to time we call for donations of specific items such as non-perishable food, furniture, bedding or bicycles. Storage is limited so we choose carefully what we accept. When we identify items that are required we will post a request in the fortnighly Newsletter and on our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/BlueMountainsRefugeeSupportGroup
Transport of Goods
Picking up and delivering donated goods is an important activity. We always look for drivers with utilities or trailers or even biggish 4WDs. Pick ups are anywhere in the mountains. Deliveries are either to our Springwood store or to asylum seekers in Western Sydney. If you can help contact email@example.com with details of availability and type and size of vehicle.
Employ an Asylum Seeker
Asylum seekers, in their bid for protection and resettlement want what ordinary Australians desire – a fair go. They don’t want special treatment, they want an opportunity to make their own way and not be dependent on charity or government. If you can employ someone directly, or refer someone who may be able to offer employment please contact refugee_employment on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Become a Visitor
Visiting can be challenging. It demands a regular commitment and a high level of interpersonal skills and sensitivity. You will need to be a financial member of BMRSG, complete a Confidentiality Agreement and a Working with Children Check. There is a selection and induction process.
Community visiting can be both rewarding and confronting. Visitors see refugees and asylum seekers who live in the community, usually in Western Sydney. Each household is different, so needs and support vary widely. At times this might mean simply befriending a family or an individual. At other times this might involve supplying basic food and household supplies, vouchers, lifts to medical appointments or organising furniture and bikes. The people we support often face hurdles with bureaucracy and need help tackling forms. Communicating with real estate agents/property owners and school, or organising repairs and appointments are things where we are frequently asked to help. Liaising with caseworkers and signposting people to other agencies who can provide support, is also a feature of the work.
A few visitors also volunteer to home tutor in English or other subjects.
If you are prepared to travel to Western Sydney and can respond flexibly to a wide range of ever changing needs, community visiting may suit you. There is a small contribution to travel expenses and arrangements for re-imbursement of costs, within agreed guidelines
DOWNLOAD: Community Visitor Guidelines
If you are interested please contact email@example.com for an informal discussion about the role.
BMRSG Teams visit Villawood Detention Centre regularly. Like visiting in the community the role requires a sustained commitment in order to build trust. Visitors provide a friendly face, food, conversation and links to the outside world. At times you will need to be prepared to listen to some distressing experiences so a high level of self-care is also necessary. You will also be confronted with the high security demands of the prison-like environment.
For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org