New drop-in centre to support asylum seekers
|Arrupe Place will complement the range of services available to new arrivals in the Diocese of Parramatta, including the All Saints of Africa Centre.|
Photography: Alphonsus Fok
Originally published in Catholic Outlook February 2015
Jesuit Refugee Services (JRS) opened the doors of a new drop-in centre for asylum seekers in Parramatta on 28 January.
Known as Arrupe Place after the Jesuit Superior General who founded JRS, the centre will provide a range of practical services to meet the needs of some of the most vulnerable members of our community.
Parramatta hosts the second-largest group of asylum seekers who have arrived by boat and are living on bridging visas in NSW. Arrupe Place will assist with services such as financial help, legal support and home visiting.
These asylum seekers are people who have asked for the protection of the Australian Government as refugees. As their claims are assessed, some asylum seekers are not permitted to work or study.
Maeve Brown, JRS Shelter Project Coordinator, said many asylum seekers had little option but to depend on charity support.
The Catholic Church is a strong voice for the compassionate treatment of asylum seekers. The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference has called for “respect for the rights of asylum seekers, not only in Government circles but in the Australian community more broadly”.
Arrupe Place will complement the range of services available to asylum seekers in the Diocese of Parramatta. These include: migrant chaplaincy, the work of the St Vincent de Paul Society; the All Saints of Africa Centre at Blacktown and the Mamre Project at Orchard Hills, both operated by CatholicCare Social Services Parramatta.
The Parramatta Young Christian Workers’ Volunteer Leadership Program also features regular detention centre visits, reflection and action informed by these experiences.
Arrupe Place is located in historic Coolock Cottage at 4 Victoria Road, Parramatta. The property has been generously loaned to JRS by the Sisters of Mercy Parramatta.
Nearby, Our Lady of Mercy College Parramatta has already been active in support of the service through the Mercy Tree Appeal. The Sisters of Charity, Holy Spirit Sisters and Sisters of the Good Samaritan are also providing personnel and support to the project.
Volunteers are currently being sought for duties including reception, hospitality and home visiting. For more information about these roles click hereAll volunteers will be provided with training. If you would like to support this important local service, please contact Sr Margaret Guy RSC, JRS Volunteer Coordinator, at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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