WCC Annual Report 2014-15 - Page 18

WOMEN IN WORK With the invaluable support of philanthropist Pam Usher and the Sunshine Crocodile Foundation, Women in Work, our Mobile Childcare Service engaged 13 qualified women from migrant and refugee backgrounds to provide 783 hours of care to children whose parents were attending community groups, services and programs this year. Pam will continue her support in the coming year with our efforts to address family violence. Alongside our regular Friday playgroup with Thomastown West Primary School, WIW also established a second successful multicultural playgroup at Thomastown West Community Hub. “ Since the days when Australia first became involved in the Iraqi War I have felt an overwhelming need to do something to help refugees. I acknowledge that my own life has been so very privileged, having never known fear, or real poverty or war. Volunteer ROAD SAFETY PROGRAMS Our road safety programs have gone from strength to strength this year, with the valuable contribution of scores of highly dedicated driver mentors. This year we have welcomed a number of Arabic and Persian speaking mentors who have the capacity to provide first language on road support which is critical to those most recently arrived. Achievements 1,598 255 Hours of volunteer mentoring provided to young people with no other access to driving support Hours of on-road mentoring support and professional lessons provided to 10 newly arrived adult learners 88 Percentage of course participants that obtained their Learner’s Permit 62 Young people were supported to gain driving practice in the L2P program 25 NMIT students from newly arrived background participated in two week long Road Safety Programs 17 Learners got their Ps and graduated from the program! 5 Road safety info sessions delivered to Farsi, Arabic, Chinese, Macedonian and Vietnamese speakers Whittlesea Community Connections Annual Report 2014 -15 ASYLUM SEEKERS In 2014-15 WCC supported a growing number of asylum seekers living in our community who are ineligible for settlement support services funded by the Federal Government. More than 800 asylum seekers in our community are living on bridging visas with temporary visa status, restricted access to services and reduced income support eligibility. This makes them one of the most vulnerable and disadvantaged groups in our community. We have seen a marked increase in the number of asylum seekers seeking our support around financial crisis, requests for basic household goods and material aid, employment support, legal issues, depression and poor mental health, many of whom hold fears for their future and that of their family here or overseas. A change in the system of support for asylum seekers which has lead to a reduction in available casework in funded services in the past year has impacted negatively on local asylum seekers who are often very vulnerable. Many are sleeping on the floor with no beds or unable to afford food and other basics on a reduced income. WCC as a generalist provider has the capacity to provide some casework support to asylum seekers, and we will assist anyone in our community in need, regardless of circumstances, however this work remains unfunded. “ If we had work rights on this visa, I would not be needing this assistance. Asylum Seeker 18