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No 1, 2021 (March)

Welcome to the first edition of SydWest's Community Connections for 2021, our regular newsletter that brings you our news and events and more.

CEO Message

All aged care providers in the country welcomed the final report of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety and the half billion pledge the Federal Government has already committed into improving the current system.   

Although half a billion is less than 3% of what is currently spent nationally, our seniors and aged care providers will need to unnecessarily wait until May to understand what the system will look like. We acknowledge that reforms are never easy, but most of these recommendations are not new to providers or current and past governments. 

Leading to the government’s response on the report titled Care, Dignity and Respect, I hope that the importance of culturally and linguistically diverse services will be taken into consideration for the 37% of people aged 65 and above that are born overseas (2016 ABS). Both Commissioners agreed that the focus all these years has been on the funding of providers and not on the needs of our seniors, therefore care must be safe and must assist people to live an active, self-determined and meaningful life in a safe and caring environment that allows for dignified living. Attention therefore needs to focus on the impact culturally & linguistically appropriate services have on the wellbeing of seniors across all levels of care. Alternative programs to the ones currently addressing social isolation are coming to an end in 2022 need to be considered.

Consideration should also be given to affordable interpreting services not only within the aged care system but also upon entry point. Appropriate training for My Aged Care contact centre on how to work with such services and with seniors with limited language skills. If the reform genuinely provides the individual with a choice, it will need to take into consideration the current referral process that disadvantages seniors from a CALD background. 

Consideration should be given to the wealth of knowledge the sector holds. Providers need to meaningfully - and in a timely fashion - contribute toward the design of a reform and not at the tail end of it. Any advisory structures need to include diverse CALD representation relevant to care, to ensure access and equity. 

We welcome all the recommendations regarding workforce and a strong and transparent system regulation to ensure seniors safety and wellbeing and to regain the trust of the community. 

I truly hope that this reform will not be another wasted opportunity to make a difference. Commissioner Tony Pagone quoted Uncle Brian Campbell, who said: “I’ve sat with Royal Commissions into deaths in custody. I’ve sat with the Bringing Them Home hearing. And out of all of them hardly anything gets done, is this one going to be the same?”

We hope not. 

Elfa Moraitakis


Community Leaders Forum Hosts Michelle Rowland MP 

SydWest Multicultural Services was pleased to welcome Michelle Rowland MP, Member for Greenway, as the keynote speaker for our February Community Leaders Forum (CLF).

The discussions were wide-ranging, and included the reduction in Australia’s humanitarian intake, border closures & the need for broader and more well-funded migrant services in the community.

Ms. Rowland has expressed an intent to work with CLF members to address some of these issues and offered to host an online meeting with some of her ministerial colleagues to further progress issues discussion.

Representing the diverse cultural groups of the Blacktown area, the CLF meets each month to connect with each other, share information and resources, and problem-solve the issues the community is facing together.

For more information on the Community Leaders Forum, please contact Puspa Acharya, Employment Project Officer & Generalist Caseworker, Settlement Services on Tel 9621-6633 or

Families Helped to Transition to School

Through a combination of Playgroup, Mothers Support Groups and transition-to-school workshops, SydWest has helped more than 20 families in our community transition successfully to school!

Helping CALD families adjust to a school system – which can be vastly different to the system they were familiar with in their home country – is a critical step in helping them adjust to life in Australia overall.

A targeted early intervention initiative, the programs and information offered have enabled parents make informed decisions, feel supported, and helped children to develop the key social, emotional, and behavioural skills they need to make the transition to school life.

Transition to School has also built our clients’ social capacity by connecting them with relevant local services and make informed decisions based on accurate and up-to-date information.
We are proud to know that our parents have had a smooth and positive introduction to school for their children and their families.
National Community Connectors Program's helping hand secures NDIS
A successful application outcome for a participant previously rejected by the NDIS
After an unsuccessful NDIS application in 2017, Deg approached our Community Connectors program for help and advice in re-submitting his application.

SydWest’s Community Connector took the time to understand how Deg’s invisible disabilities – including severe memory loss caused by an episode of acute meningoencephalitis which left him in a coma for 2 weeks – impacted his daily life, and helped him articulate these challenges in his NDIS application. 

With our Community Connector’s help, Deng’s application was successful and he is now an NDIS participant. This means he is eligible to be assigned a support worker, who will help him cope with his disability and assist him in becoming a more active participant in his family, social and work life. 

The NDIS Community Connectors program is help for the community to navigate the complex NDIS system. 

To speak with one of our Community Connectors, please Tel: 9621-6633 or email 

COVID-19 & Family Well-being for CALD families 

In late 2020, the Women & Families team undertook a consultation project with some of our local CALD families to identify and explore how the stressors that have arisen from COVID-19 were impacting families, highlight the supports available during lockdown, and see how our families were coping.

We were pleased to find that, overall, our families reported they felt well-supported by their diverse community connections, including friends and neighbours, as well as by the consistent support services they received from SydWest and government organisations.

From the findings, we developed nine key recommendations:
  • Offer COVID-safe activities to build and maintain social cohesion
  • Provide online face-to-face options to support clients
  • Collaborate with other local agencies to provide wrap-around service to clients
  • Advocate for local groups lacking legal or financial protection 
  • Share and circulate health information from reliable sources
  • Encourage COVID-safe community activities and innovation
  • Build community resilience by promoting wellbeing and mental health
  • Utilise existing community networks  for health messaging and to promote COVID safe behaviour
  • Support clients to further adapt to government health directives and restrictions
SydWest Multicultural Services thanks the Transcultural Mental Health Centre for their contribution to the planning and implementation of this consultation, as well as for their expertise in assisting to ensure that the process was community informed and culturally sensitive for those involved.

If you would like to know more about this research report, please contact 
HCP Client success story – Adel Ibrahim 
The way our Aged Care coordinators support clients helps the whole family to relieve stress

Our work supporting seniors to live in their own homes also means ensuring their family members feel supported to cope with their needs, and making sure they are confident in the level of daily services provided.

Adel, an 85 year old elderly widower lives alone in his own home supported with a Home Care Package 3. Suffering from Alzheimer’s, dementia, and age-related physical ailments, he requires extensive services covering personal care as well as medical support, including monitoring of medication, provision of medical equipment, and help with medical appointments.
His daughter Amani has her own family, including a disabled child, so it’s imperative her father’s carers can step in as a trusted pair of hands when needed. When Adel’s rotation of carers was changed, at first he struggled to adapt. But twelve months on, everything is running smoothly and he and Amani couldn't’ be happier.

“The carers looking after my dad are outstanding – even when he has been difficult. They are compassionate, caring and always do their best to comfort him. Anna is the most caring and understanding lady I have come across – she really cares for the elderly people she looks after"

CommBank donates at Xmas

For the second Christmas in a row, Rouse Hill Commonwealth Bank has presented SydWest with a generous donation in appreciation of the work we are doing in the community. 

Presented by branch manager Milind Joshi, the $500 contribution will help us continue delivering vital services to our diverse clients.

Opportunity to share arises through COVID-19

Maherah Hurmiz, one of SydWest’s splendid sewers, has donated more than 75 hand-sewn masks to elderly people in our community.

A migrant from Iraq, Maherah joined the SydWest Sewing Class in 2019 to learn an employable skill and practice her English language skills while making new friends, and quickly found her new skill to be incredibly practical. In addition to helping more vulnerable community members, her contribution also made her feel like an active participant in the local community which is crucial in making the settlement process a success.
Click Here for Annual Report 2020
Stay tuned into all our news by following us on our social media sites too.


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Business Hours

Monday to Friday 9:00am to 4:30pm
Please feel free to send mail to

Blacktown Office

PO Box 869, Blacktown NSW 2148
Level 2,125 Main Street, Blacktown NSW 2148
Phone (02) 9621 6633
Fax (02) 9831 5625

Castle Hill Hub

The Community Hub, Castle Hill Towers Shopping Centre, 6-14 Castle Street Castle Hill
(on Old Northern Rd, near Gold Class cinemas)
Phone (02) 9621 6633

Mt Druitt Hub

Level 1, 13 Cleeve Close, Mt Druitt NSW 2770
Phone (02) 9625 0455
Fax (02) 9625 0322

Penrith Hub

Suite 113, Community Connection Building, 114-116 Henry Street, Penrith NSW 2750
Phone (02) 9621 6633

Rouse Hill Hub

Vinegar Hill Memorial Library, 29 Main Street, Rouse Hill Town Centre, NSW 2155
Phone (02) 9621 6633
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