The Catholic Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle plays an integral role in the settlement of refugees in the Newcastle and Hunter region and also works collaboratively with other local service providers.
Refugee Service operates a comprehensive intake and referral system and provides case-work support for limited periods to ensure refugees and new migrants develop skills and networks to assist them integrate successfully into the community.
Refugee Service is outcome-focused and facilitates pathways to education, employment and training, and develops individual planss that address individual needs.
The diocese supports refugees as they move from dependence on services to integration into the local community. Staff and volunteers facilitate programs and activities to help refugees benefit from health, education, social and welfare opportunities.
Improving English is key, as a language barrier can prevent many refugees from contributing to the Australian workforce and can impact on everyday life, including shopping and using public transport. Many refugees also experience trauma, which is compounded by the language barrier and cultural differences.
Each month, up to 25 volunteers and three staff work to respond to more than 250 enquiries. Volunteers bring their own unique talents and provide organisational skills, sewing, English lessons and even accompany refugees to appointments such as accommodation inspections and swimming lessons.
Diocesan professional networks can help provide strong advocacy and referral pathways to CatholicCare services, such as counselling, to build capacity in individuals and families.