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In March, BR4R was the charity of the day at the Lismore Car Boot market. Many volunteers spent their Sunday shaking buckets, selling clothes, bric a brac, plants and books and generally encouraging people to give generously. We were lucky to be joined by refugee advocate Janet Wilson and  Ehsan and Sedegh who had just been released from community detention.
The day raised a staggering $2700.

BR4R added some additional funds and $3000 has already been given to the Brisbane On Shore Arrival group. This group is supporting refugees who have been released from community detention with the total and only government support of three weeks accommodation and $500. Refugees are then left to rely on charity, unless they can find employment immediately. Our $3000 will go to support the payment of accommodation bonds and start up accommodation costs for  two families released from community detention. Both families have school aged children.

Our tireless fundraising coordinator Trish, her right hand women Rosemary and Meg and the happy band of volunteers deserve a huge pat on the back for this AMAZING effort.

BR4R would like to thank all those donated on the day so generously.

In the month of March the BR4R committee made a number of decisions around the disbursement of funds raised at the Lismore Car Boot market, the  East Ballina Lions markets and the generosity of individual donors. Our aim is to keep only a small operating surplus in the bank and to minimise any administrative costs. 

This month we donated:

  • $3000 towards set up accommodation costs for two families, with school aged children, released on community detention in Brisbane.

  • $1000 for practical items for refugees stuck in hotel detention in Darwin

  • $1000 to build a national emergency pool for refugees exiting community detention and moving to rural areas.

  • $500 to support men in limbo on Manus Island who have now have partners and children but are ineligible for any government support.

Of course donations are only possible due to the effort of those who organise, staff, promote, set up/ clean up at events. Our Treasurer is also kept busy counting the donations and making sure they reach the agreed destinations. Many of those who do this work are quiet achievers, turning up again and again to help out. Thank you, thank you, thank you  all.

A very special thank you to our Events Coordinator Meg Pickup. Meg is standing down from that role. Meg, we will all truly miss your enthusiasm, drive and good humour. The Events Coordinator is a non-committee position that can be done by one or more persons. If anyone out there is interested in helping us out with Event planning/management, please get in touch. 

This was the Palm Sunday rally which saw 100 people gather in solidarity on the Lennox Head Foreshore. The rally raised a further $875 dollars which BR4R will add to, donating a further $2000 to the Mercy Foundation's Romero Centre.

Our work is governed by a strategic Action Plan. This plan helps us focus our efforts and work towards key goals. The plan for this year will be posted on our website in early April. I encourage you to read this as it helps put our work in context. 

BR4R is a membership group. Any member can attend Committee meetings, ask for a copy of the meeting agenda, meeting minutes or other key documentation. Please contact us if you would like any information/have any questions about our operations. We, in turn, are working towards another Open Meeting for members. If you are a member and have ideas/suggestions for topics/speakers that would help increase your knowledge. please let us know. A special thank you to all our members for their continued support. 

Warm regards, Ruth



On Sunday 28th March, Palm Sunday rallies were held all over Australia. Although the day is significant in the Christian calendar, the rallies are non-faith based gatherings of people who want to stand up for justice and fairness for those legally seeking asylum in Australia and for those who been afforded international refugee status.  The national dual theme of this year's rally was  Time for a Home and Get them to Safety.

The rallies called for four key actions to be taken:
-   Permanent visas for all refugees
- Basic income support for people in the community while their refugee status is determined
- Release of ALL Refugees from detention #TimeForAHome
- An end to offshore processing


On Lennox Head foreshore, over 100 people made the decision to join the BR4R rally. The rally included a Welcome to Country by Aunty Julia Paden, music and song by Luke Robinson,  Poetry readings by BR4R Publicity Coordinator Lisa Dillon and BR4R member Hazel Davidson, a keynote address by BR4R member Cath Napier, a letter from a refugee read by BR4R member Rev Cathy Rodd and brief talks by Event Coordinator Meg Pickup, BR4R  supporter Rev John Edwards and  BR4R President Ruth Henderson about the reason for the rally. Zee was the wonderful sound engineer for the event. 

All funds donated on the day are to be donated to the Romero Centre, The current focus of the Romero Centre  is supporting refugees exiting community detention. A small act from you can make a big impact on the lives of people seeking asylum. A small act from you can make a big impact on the lives of people seeking asylum. 

 The Romero Centre advocates that a small act from you can make a big impact on the lives of people seeking asylum. In just over an hour, with many such small acts, the day raised $875. BR4R will add in additional funds to a total of $2000. Thanks to all who came, told friends about the event, those who publicised the event (2LM, the Echo and the Northern Review0, and finally those who generously donated.



We have sadly farewelled our Masters of Social Work student, Rachel Welstead, who completed her first 400 hour placement with us. Rachel's key legacy is a significant resource kit to support settlement of refugees in the Ballina area. To create this, Rachel interviewed many people, and researched across national, statewide and local resources. Rachel also took a lead role in the Time for a Home campaign, she wrote articles for our newsletter, attended rallies and even met with  a Federal MP. In her work with BR4R, Rachel truly embodied the Australian Association of Social Work core values-

  • Respect for persons - Every human being is important and unique. Every person has the right to self-determination

  • Social justice - Social work practice should promote fairness and social justice in any society

  • Professional integrity - The social work profession values honesty, transparency, reliability, empathy

We were so fortunate to have Rachel. She will be a great asset to the Social Work profession.


A request by one of our supporters for books to read related to refugees made us think that we are due to purchase more books for our local library system.  Whilst there is lots written on the subject, sometimes fiction can be a more accessible way to explore complex issues of displacement, feeling stateless, seeking asylum, being a refugee and (re)settlement. If you have any suggestions about books that you have read relating to refugees/asylum seekers, please get in touch with us. We'd love your recommendations.

CALL TO ACTION - Home to Bilo
Letter writing Blitz on 5 April

Now that Palm Sunday is over, we encourage you all to support this letter writing blitz in support of the Tamil family still detained on Christmas Island .  
This letter blitz has been given a "thumbs up" by Angela Fredericks (who is the Back to Bilo campaign lead). 
The "Letter-Blitz Kit" including background information and proforma letters to 
  • Minister for Home Affairs 
  • Minister for Immigration 
  • Mr Ken O'Dowd, Federal Member for Flynn (Biloela area) 
  • Send copies to your local MP and the PM


Join us for a one-hour program to learn about the successes and challenges of the first year of Operation #NotForgotten (ONF), where the initiative goes from here, and how you or your group can be involved!

Two dates available:

Saturday, 17 April 2021 10-11am AEST


Tuesday, 20 April 2021 10-11am AEST

Please register through Eventbrite to receive your ticket confirmation and Zoom link:

17 April:


20 April: 

Questions? Email

Subject line: ONF Update Event

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RACS Book Club – a bi-annual event featuring stories from around the world to highlight the experience of refugees, people seeking asylum and their communities.

Join host Jan Fran for the inaugural event! Our first book is The Kabul Peace House, by Mark Isaacs.

Grab your favourite drink and nibbles, have your questions ready and invite friends, family or your book club over for a great night in!

Jan Fran will lead a panel discussion and Q&A with special guests:

  • Mark Isaacs, acclaimed author, refugee advocate and activist

  • Maryam Zahid, Founder and Director of Afghan Women On The Move

  • Arif Hussein, RACS Senior Solicitor   

Wednesday 21 April, 7.30-8.30pm via Zoom.

All proceeds from Book Club ticket sales will support the work of RACS.



Much-loved Uki community member Bindi Pursey had plans to train in Mental Health First Aid. Passionate about mental health and resilience, Bindi wanted to make a difference to her community. Sadly, Bindi died before this could happen. So in her memory we are asking Uki and 2484 residents to do the Mental Health First Aid training with us, and help fulfil Bindi’s dream.

The Mental Health First Aid training, a 2-day workshop, will be held at the Uki Hall on Sunday 23 & Sunday 30 May. Each day will be two 3-hour sessions with a lunch break and discussion time at the end.

This course will teach adults how to help people suffering mental health issues. It is a valuable tool for everyday life and for anyone working with the public. 

Students learn how to provide initial support to adults who are experiencing:

  • Anxiety problems

  • Psychosis

  • Trauma

  • Depression

  • Substance Use problems

  • Suicidal thoughts and behaviours

  • Panic attacks

  • Aggressive behaviours

Participants in the course learn the signs and symptoms of these mental health problems, where and how to get help and what sort of help has been shown by research to be effective.

Participants also learn skills for effective communication, focusing particularly on non-judgmental listening, and giving support and information. 

The cost will be maximum $170, including textbook. Students will get a digital Certificate of Completion at the end. 


Numbers are limited to 16, so if you are interested please email Madeleine Murray asap at to request your place.

Once we confirm your place, you will be directed to our bank account for payment. Your booking will be secure only once your payment is made.

Regrettably, bookings must be on a “first in” basis. If you are unable to secure a spot, we will place you on a waitlist.


BR4R's next market will hopefully be April 18th at Canal Rd Ballina from 7am to 1pm.

Unfortunately the February and March markets were cancelled due to flooded grounds.

Fingers crossed for sunny skies this month!

If you would like to help with the sorting of market goods at our container in Ballina please give Trish a call - 0477 897 854.

Our treasurer Rik who often helps with the market pack up.


With the end of daylight saving rallies will now be held from 4-5pm. Because of the recent COVID outbreak, the rally scheduled for Wednesday, April 7 will not be held. The dates for future rallies are April 21, May 5, 19 2021. All are welcome to come and show support for BR4R’s position on Australia’s refugee policy. We gather on Kerr Street in front of Ballina Fair. Best access is via the middle set of traffic lights on Kerr Street between Fox Street and Bangalow Road/Tamarind Drive.
Make a donation today
Link to BR4R on Facebook
Link to BR4R on Facebook

Latest News

For the latest news on matters related to people seeking asylum and refugees please follow these links
Refugee Council of Australia
Kaldor Centre for Refugee Law UNSW
Amnesty International Australia
Ballina Region for Refugees
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