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Summer 2020

Welcome to the latest edition of SydWest's Community Connections for 2020, our regular newsletter that brings you our news and events and more.

CEO Message

We head into one of the most well-earned holiday seasons in years, with many of us eager to kick up our feet and turn on our out-of-office replies. But as we look forward to relaxing and spending Covid -safe time with friends and family, we should spare a thought for the vulnerable among us and within the communities we serve.

For the individuals and families already experiencing financial distress, isolation, relationship and family problems, the Christmas holiday season can be the most stressful time of the year, and this is highly likely to compound due to the effects of the pandemic. And while this can impact anybody, these stressors are magnified for our migrant and refugee communities faced with additional challenges.

Many of our new and emerging communities that have fled their homes, are still separated from their families. Our recent collaboration with the CQ University on the impact of Covid-19 to the migrant and refugee communities of Western Sydney found that 66.9 per cent of the respondents are worried because of the pandemic, and 23.5 per cent indicated their life is now terrible.

And yet, while this year’s NSW Budget admirably included a record $2.1bn for mental health services overall, it failed on pledging anything of significance for our migrant and refugee communities. There was nothing dedicated to CALD hotlines or specialist clinician working groups and peer support that could help alleviate the mental health toll the communities are currently experiencing.

At which point in time will we realise that it is our responsibility to ensure that we are offering communities all the necessary resources to successfully integrate into our society and live a healthy life. The social and cultural environment in which an individual resettles has a strong impact on their psychological adjustment.

Ultimately, we have a social responsibility to the community and a duty to amplify their voices. We call for all levels of government to take concrete steps to ensure we live in a healthy multicultural society that guarantees access and equity to all mental health services and acknowledges that CALD communities need additional resources to access and stay connected to the system. For those in government who recognise the need to take these steps we would be more than happy to assist with real solutions. This week we have offered up two areas for greater focus in relation to multicultural services more generally, in response to the release of Labor’s Multicultural Statement. You can read our response here.

Of course, with the New Year come new resolutions. While governments and health authorities will rightly have their plates full trying to mitigate the pandemic, we hope they also resolve to consider the needs of our migrant and refugee communities with greater urgency. The break will be the perfect time for decision-makers to reflect on the year that was and think of tangible steps they can take to make an impact.

I hope you all have a Safe & Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Elfa Moraitakis

Stay tuned into all our news by following us on our social media sites too.

Click Here for Annual Report 2020


Become a BELA Mentor!

Are you passionate about helping young people from migrant and refugee backgrounds reach their potential?
The next Blacktown Emerging Leaders & Advocates (BELA) Program is starting in 2021 and SydWest is calling for Mentors to join the program.
This is your chance to mentor a young person from refugee background and help them become a leader in their community and an active citizen of Australia. Be part of the change.
Find out more information and submit an expression of interest here.
For further enquiries, please contact Elizabeth Koudakpo on (02) 9621 6633 or at
Client Spotlight: Meet the Tastans

Mr & Mrs Tastan are two of the most dedicated members of our Turkish Seniors Social Support Group, having attended nearly every event since its establishment many years ago. Not even the COVID-19 pandemic could stop them from meeting with their friends regularly!

Thanks to Zoom, Mr Tastan and the other Turkish seniors were able to keep up their weekly card game, while Mrs Tastan could continue to show her friends the latest cardigan, scarf or shawl she had knitted.

Additionally, the couple was also able to virtually participate in movement and laughter therapy, as well as info session where they could receive the latest on COVID-19 and other health tips for seniors.

Mr & Mrs Tastan are looking forward to being able to meet with all their friends in person again, but until that day they plan on joining every virtual meeting and staying connected to their friends. 

For more information on our Aged Care Services, visit

Fun & safe return for Youth Team events

After many months apart – and countless virtual meetings – our Youth Team hosted its first face-to-face outing in early October. With COVID-19 safety management precautions in place, more than 30 young people joined in the fun day out at Nurragingy Reserve and enjoyed a range of activities together.


Gradual return of offline Seniors Social Group outings
We’re also pleased that some of our Seniors Social Groups, part of our Aged Care Services, are slowly starting to come together at COVID-safe outdoor events.

Socially-distanced and with face masks on, our Blacktown Fijian Indian Social Support Group recently visited Nurragingy Reserve for their first in-person gathering since the pandemic began.

While SydWest continues to offer virtual meetings and events for all our social groups, the lack of face-to-face interaction has impacted some of our clients.

For further information, please contact Vithya, Social Support Leader on
Tel 9621 6633 or email

Congratulating our talented young creatives

SydWest would like to congratulate the winners of our Women & Families Team’s September School Holiday Showcase! The team was inundated with more than 70 entries from talented under-12s who submitted pretty paintings, cool craft projects or delectable dishes from their native cuisine. All the children submitted amazing entries, which made it all the more difficult for our Blacktown staff to pick the winners, but we got there in the end!

Congratulations to the winners: 
  • 0-4 years : Advik (4 years), Zaviyar (3 years), Royce (2 years)
  • 5-8 years: Mumal (7 years), Viaan (8 years), Jasjaap (8 years),
    Nooriyah (6 years)
  • 9-12 years: Aftab (10 years), Aniqa (10 years), Yousha (9 years)

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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
Copyright © 2020 SydWest Multicultural Services, All rights reserved.

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