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No 6, 2021 (December)

Welcome to the last edition of SydWest's Community Connections for 2021. Our regular newsletter brings you all the news, events and more. Our Newsletters will return with quarterly issues in 2022.

CEO Message
 
Although we are all trying to remain positive, the year is coming to an end with new fears about the virus and its variants. I cannot help but think of the social sector’s ability to cope with any additional pressure should the situation not remain stable.

During these tough 2 years, the sector managed to respond with great success to community needs. The state government provided short term additional resources, but it should consider stronger investment as the need for services continue to increase. 

Commissioned by NCOSS and other NSW peak bodies, Equity Economics report, The Social Sector in NSWCapitalising on the potential for growth highlights that an investment of $1 billion will bring a ten-fold return of $10 billion in additional jobs, and through increased participation in the labour market of people currently providing informal care.

The social services sector currently employs more than 230,000 people and provides care to more than 1 million per year. The report identified a potential addition of 62,000 jobs needed by 2030 to meet increasing demand and made a series of recommendations on how to capitalise on the potential for growth The Social Sector in NSW_Summary of Key Findings & Recommendations.

During the pandemic, NCOSS worked closely and consulted with grass roots organisations that have been supporting community during very difficult times. When COVID-19 brought to light the sad state of affairs communities are faced with, it also highlighted the need for our sector to be well resourced and the need for a more inclusive and resilient NSW, hence its pre-budget submission that demands our support to provide everyone with basic human rights.

We will continue to advocate for the needs of our communities across the Greater Western Sydney region in the new year. With restrictions now eased for the vaccinated and unvaccinated alike, I wish you a safe holiday season surrounded by the warmth of family and friends.
 

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Contents

Rosa’s Home Care Package (HCP) keeps her healthy at home 
Vote for SydWest
Taskforce of community leaders puts Blacktown ahead
Level 3 Home Care Package care recipient
Pro Hair Boutique - Alyounani brothers
Backswing will get you started
Domestic violence COVID-19 emergency grant
Youth football star on track
Reducing our emissions through technology
Seniors Social Support Groups appreciate continued support during lockdown 
Thank you for your support in 2021

Rosa’s Home Care Package (HCP) keeps her healthy at home


Marija Derikuca, Care Coordinator in the SydWest Home Care services team, has been supporting Mrs Rosa Bijac since 2017 when she started with SydWest as an HCP Level 2 client. 

Rosa arrived from Croatia in 1966 and now lives alone in Mt Druitt. She loves the fact that Marija can speak her language. Marija is in regular contact with Rosa and in late 2020, referred her for higher level care, as her care needs changed. Due to her health, Rosa is at high-risk for falls and she has care workers visiting her three times each week.

Rosa receives a flexible service including light housekeeping, shopping, medical appointments, walking and socialising.

Now an HCP Level 4 client, Rosa has a daughter who visits her regularly and the support of our Care Workers. Rosa is so happy with our services, she has made recommendations to several other seniors in need, who are now clients of SydWest.

'I am very happy with my SydWest care workers Natasha (who also speaks Rosa’s language), Shahnaz, Iwona and with all the services. I am very grateful that staff call to check on me regularly and how I am going in with this very difficult situation with COVID-19 lockdowns.'

Vote for SydWest


SydWest is participating in the My Giving Circle's Vote for your favourite charity.
We’re hoping to secure some of the $500,000 funding on offer for charities with the most votes.
 
You don’t have to make a donation, just select skip if it prompts for a donation.
 
You can vote every day, right up until the closing date of 31 December 2021.

Click here to vote for SydWest now.

Taskforce of community leaders puts Blacktown ahead 


Since the callout for a special taskforce in August by SydWest, elected community leaders, influencers and religious leaders from different multicultural groups have come together in a combined grassroots community effort to lift vaccination rates in Blacktown.

The taskforce engaged in months of ongoing collaboration to refine consistent messaging during the lockdowns, Stay Home rules and the importance of getting vaccinated.

The efforts of our very own Clement Meru, Community Engagement & Disability Services Manager, Saurav Shrestha and Om Dhungel, have made an impact so much so, making Blacktown the most vaccinated LGA amongst the 12 areas of concern.

Click here to read the Sydney Morning Herald news article, ‘How Blacktown became one of the most vaccinated LGAs in NSW,’ 31 October 2021.

Level 3 Home Care Package care recipient


Mrs Esrefa Jusufovic came to Australia in 1997 after the war in what is now formerly known as Yugoslavia. She is from Bosnia.
                                                                 Photo: Mrs Jusufovic with care worker Natasha
 
Esrefa has been receiving SydWest Home Care services since 2014. She is very appreciative of all the support she receives.

Currently on a Level 3 HCP, Esrefa receives a range of SydWest services, including domestic assistance, social support, transport to medical appointments and shopping, meal preparation assistance and personal care.

During her last reassessment earlier this year, Esrefa reported that she is very satisfied with services from SydWest and her care worker Natasha. She recently said Natasha’s smile brings her 'back to life.'

Mrs Jusufovic said, 'I feel SydWest is like a family and understands me and my needs.'
 

Pro Hair Boutique – Alyounani Brothers

Congratulations to Marvin and Alen Saeed Alyounani, two brothers who started their own hairdressing salon a year ago in Baulkham Hills.

Marvin and Alen were both trained hairdressers in Iraq, leaving to settle in Australia in 2017. From their first days here, they and their parents joined SydWest activities with the Arabic-speaking group, attending many information sessions and social events.
We connected the brothers with business start-up supports, to establish their business here.
SydWest linked the brothers up with Business Connect and their specialist counsellor for business advice, as well as a range of supports around setting up a business, ABNs and financial survival.

Unfortunately for the Alyounani brothers, COVID-19 lockdowns took a hit on their business, as it had for many others. However, we are pleased to announce that their business re-opened last October as restrictions started to ease.

Their mother Sabera Al Bakzo recently wrote: 
'Thank you very much Mrs. Mervat for congratulating and encouraging my sons. Thank you to Mr. Ans Juan who played a role in guiding my sons Marvin and Alen to build their business in the Baulkham Hills area. I invite all young men and women to start their own business if they have special skills to build their future in Australia and good luck to all.'

'Thank you Mervat Altarazi and Anas Khawam for your support. And anyone who comes from your side will have a special discount.'  Alen Alyounani

Backswing will get you started 
 


Backswing is a creative project managed by people with disability from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds in Western Sydney. The program provides employment skills training, with a focus on the development of Core Skills for Work (CSW).

Backswing kicked off for the first time in July 2021 with 17 participants. 

Due to Sydney’s extended lockdowns earlier in July, training was run virtually, but this may change to a face to face setting next year. Sessions are held twice a week with individual support onside.

Participants learn a range of CSW to help them with career pathways, including digital literacy, networking, communication, financial literacy, research, and business skills.  A lot of the participants came with a range of different skills to take up job opportunities. Three participants from the program have already secured suitable jobs.

On Friday, 10 December, the #cleaningforcommunity project and its participants celebrated their achievements as they exited the program. Ed Husic MP, joined the event in support of the Backswing program and our participants.

'As a community, we can only thrive when everyone is able to achieve their potential and make a valuable contribution. Backswing is a unique program, which has opened doors for people living with disabilities from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. I'm proud to support this program and congratulate all of the participants involved in the Cleaning for Community day,' said Ed Husic MP.

The second phase of Backswing will start in February 2022. If you or anyone you know is interested in joining, contact SydWest Multicultural Services for next year's intake.

Domestic violence COVID-19 emergency grant


The COVID-19 pandemic, lockdowns and changes to socio-economic situations are recognised as significant drivers for increased domestic violence in NSW.

Temporary visa holders are some of the most vulnerable people in our community and in recognition of these issues, the government provided short term funding so we could assist those in need.

For ten months (Sep 20 – June 21), we supported women and their children through the Domestic Violence COVID Emergency Grant project with casework, community education and emergency support.
For temporary visa holders
The eligibility criteria to access support was extended to those on temporary working visas, Provisional visas, Partners and/or Prospective marriage visas, bridging visas (related to partner visa applications), as well as asylum seekers.

The project received 42 referrals, with 21 women (and 23 children) meeting the eligibility criteria and they were all assisted during the life of the project. With 50% of referrals not meeting eligibility criteria, SydWest referred these women to other organisations to help them receive support.

We worked closely with our MOU partner, the Harman Foundation across case management and housing supports.

Some of the great outcomes include:
  • women/children relocated into safe housing
  • permanent residency gained under domestic violence provisions
  • $67,000 obtained in victim services funding
  • assistance with Centrelink applications
  • referral to SydWest programs including Playgroup and Mothers Support Groups
During the project, we also ran a Family Harmony and Wellbeing Session that has been viewed by more than 200 people over 5 days in June 2021.

Some feedback on the online sessions include:
'We didn’t know that husband and wife relationships can negatively impact on children.'
'Very important information that children may become perpetrators or victims of domestic and family violence when they become adults.'
'We don’t want to talk about this issue, but we should talk more about this.
Please do more sessions on mental health and domestic violence.'


We are proud of the work we have done to assist temporary visa holders experiencing domestic violence during COVID-19. We are in favour for the government to consider extending this program as we anticipate ongoing support needs in the near future.

Youth football star on track 


SydWest youth client Heritier Penekatamba, is a talented and dedicated footballer who has regularly participated in SydWest football tournaments as well as indoor soccer sessions.

Heri is 19 years old and arrived from Congo with his family just a few years ago. In addition to football, Heri has regularly participated in SydWest activities, such as African consultations, and volunteered during National Youth Week.

We are excited to report that he has been spotted and is receiving support, guidance and representation from Ability Sports Management to nurture his professional football career in Australia. Shane, from Ability Sports Management, is representing him pro-bono as a favour to Heri and SydWest.

We are pleased that Ability Sports Management is seeking to contribute to the settlement of refugees in Australia by creating pathways to success in their chosen passion and areas of expertise. We wish Heri every success in the upcoming season, where he is registered with Hawkesbury NPL.
 
 

Reducing our emissions through technology

The Australian government is working to reduce emissions to create a better future for our children.

This campaign aims to help build community awareness and knowledge about emissions reduction and the Australian government’s actions, investment and commitment to reducing emissions.

Click below to access translations of fact sheets and videos.

Cantonese (Trad Chinese)
Mandarin (Simp Chinese)
Vietnamese
Arabic
Greek
Italian
Korean

Seniors Social Support Groups appreciate continued support during lockdown


During the difficult period of lockdown, the goal of the Social Support Team was to keep our seniors active mentally and physically. We had zoom sessions every single week with very high participation rates from our clients. 

The sessions covered a range of different topics as we collaborated with doctors, physiotherapists, personal trainers and other support specialists from different organisations to ensure our seniors received medical, fitness and health advice.

Seniors who struggled with digital technology received consistent tech support from our team. Furthermore, clients that either couldn’t or didn’t want to participate for their own reasons received frequent communication over the phone for regular check-ins.

Below are some of the positive feedback we have received:

Mrs Devi Kumar-MSSSG 
Thank you SydWest for organizing very good and informative sessions. I find all meetings to be of good quality and am thankful to the whole team involved in preparation of the events.

Mrs Amparo Martinez-Filipino SSSG
I was so excited over SydWest having organised a session about Grief and Loss which I thought would be helpful some time ago.

Mr Mohammad Rahman-MSSSG             
Thank you SydWest for organising all the daily sessions, I am very appreciative.

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SydWest Multicultural Services

Business Hours

Monday to Friday 9:00am to 4:30pm
www.sydwestms.org.au
Please feel free to send mail to info@sydwestms.org.au

Blacktown Office

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

Mt Druitt Hub

Shop 3, 6-10 Mount Street, Mt Druitt NSW 2770
Phone (02) 9625 0455
Fax (02) 9625 0322

Rouse Hill Hub

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

Penrith Hub

Suite 113, Community Connection Building, 114-116 Henry Street, Penrith NSW 2750
Phone (02) 9621 6633
Copyright © 2021 SydWest Multicultural Services, All rights reserved.


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