After conducting a primary community needs consultation in 2017, the Edmund Rice Centre decided to organise an annual community services expo in partnership with Patrician Brothers' College Fairfield and Catholic Education Office Sydney. The community services expo aims to provide an opportunity for newly arrived refugees and humanitarian entrants in south-western Sydney to learn about available settlement services, including employment support programs, volunteer/internship opportunities, education assistance, vocational trainings, language support services, family support programs, legal awareness programs, community participation initiatives and socio-cultural awareness sessions, provided by the government and non-governmental service providers.
The expo’s primary focus is to assist newly arrived refugees and humanitarian entrants in south-western suburbs of Sydney, including Fairfield, Liverpool, Bankstown and Cumberland LGAs, with their immediate settlement and ling-term integration in Australia by connecting them to available services and relevant service providers.
The first community services expo was organised on the 29th May 2018 in Fairfield in partnership with Patrician Brothers' College Fairfield and Catholic Education Office Sydney. The overall outcomes of the community services expo have been:
- 120 people from refugee and humanitarian background (mostly Syrian and Iraqi refugees) attended the first community survives expo in 2018. A post-event evaluation indicated that most of the attendees found it a useful method of learning about available settlement services and community support initiatives.
- 18 government and non-governmental services providers attended the expo and delivered short presentations about their available settlement services and community empowerment programs in south-western suburbs of Sydney.
- The expo enabled us to connect with a large number of newly arrived refugees and humanitarian entrants in south-western Sydney and to introduce our community empowerment and refugee support programs, including our mentoring program to the attendees.
- The expo helped us build strong working relationships and referral partnerships with government agencies, non-governmental service providers, community associations/groups, local schools and community leaders.