The Ethnic Communities’ Council of NSW will run an innovative project under the “Liveable Communities Grants Program” to support the settlement of refugees and migrants: “The Good Neighbour Project.”

The NSW Minister for Multiculturalism, John Ajaka MLC, launched today in Parramatta the “Liveable Communities Grants Program” Family and Community Services (FACS), which supports innovative ideas and initiatives that create more liveable communities for older people, people with disability and carers.

maxresdefaultThe Ethnic Communities’ Council of NSW is one of the recipients of this grant, which will allow them to run the Good Neighbour Project” (GNP), a program aimed at harnessing our older communities to support the settlement of refugees and migrants settling into Australian community life.

As the Minister for Ageing, John Ajaka MLC explained, “The NSW Government wants this state to lead the country in supporting interesting and fresh ideas that create positive social outcomes for older people,” Minister Ajaka said. 

“We continue to work hard to ensure all of us can enjoy the benefits of living longer, but the Government cannot do this on its own. That is why I am delighted to award this grant to the Ethnic Communities’ Council of NSW, who will introduce the Good Neighbour Project to connect older and experienced migrants with new families to support them with their settlement journey.

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The project will leverage the value, knowledge, experience and capacity of our older volunteer migrants and older refugees who will use their own experience and learning to provide newly arrived families with a friendly “Good Neighbour” and assist them in their own settlement journey.

Through matching GN volunteers and families, the GN volunteers will assist to create positive connections, foster community integration, address isolation, improve accessibility to local community events, activities and services and create stronger local community ties.

Terrie Leoleos, the Multicultural Ageing and Disability Officer at ECCNSW explained the background of the project: “As Australia has made a commitment to support over 15,000 refugees (now 18,000) per year, there is growth funding in settlement and refugee programs, but there is also an enormous burden and stress on existing frameworks and services. This model will tap into a market which is yet to be harnessed and explored to support these services by linking families of refugees with local community members.”

Nicole Yade, the Project Support Officer and Trainer described how the project will be implemented: Each refugee family will be interviewed and matched with a trained “Good Neighbour.” The family will set goals and outcomes which will aim to foster positive engagement into their local livable city and promote social participation, respect, social inclusion, access information and related support services, so they will be able to access and enjoy outdoor spaces, building and facilities, use local and private transport and become active and confident members on their own community.” 

Peter Doukas, Chair of ECCNSW, “the awarding of this Grant is testament to the wholistic change that the ECC has undergone over the past few years. The CEO, Ms Mary Karras as well as Terrie Leoleos ought to be congratulated for the work they have put in to making ECCNSW competitive in this grant application” Mr Doukas said.