August 2021 newsletter: See inside the ASC community in lockdown

August 13, 2021

I want to take this opportunity to share with you some of what we are experiencing at the Asylum Seekers Centre and how we are responding to the challenges.

The last six weeks of lockdown in Greater Sydney have been challenging for people seeking asylum and there is likely to be more hardship ahead.

People lost casual and temporary work almost immediately and the demand for our crisis services increased by 60 per cent. This video will give you a look at the work of the ASC right now:

We cannot thank you, our supporters and donors, enough for the many acts of kindness and generosity at this time. Your support is our backbone when we are advocating strongly to both the Federal and NSW Governments to provide more funds for people seeking asylum.

NSW government funding

All of us at ASC join with colleagues in our sector to welcome the NSW Government’s announcement of $6 million funding for people seeking asylum in our community.

These emergency funds are to prevent people on temporary visas becoming homeless and to provide food, health and digital basics. The ASC will be one of many agencies applying for a portion of these funds, as we are well-placed to provide support to the many people in our community.

Lockdown snapshot

Since lockdown, the Asylum Seekers Centre:

  • provided grocery vouchers to support 329 families to choose their own shopping in their local area
  • packed and posted 62 repurposed digital devices to keep people connected
  • assisted 170 people with medications and made more than 700 health calls, emails and SMS messages including COVID related information
  • is closely working with NSW Health to connect people seeking asylum to local vaccination clinics in home languages where possible, and
  • has had all staff working, many remotely, to provide phone support to people seeking asylum.

Refugee Week celebrations

On 23 June, days before Sydney went into lockdown, we were able to celebrate Refugee Week with Band Together at Sydney Town Hall. Although we were unable to have a live audience, we were able to record the event and we can share this livestream with you now.

Asylum Seekers Centre presented with Amnesty Australia and the City of Sydney, a program of music, interviews and film provides you with a two hour program to inform and inspire. As one viewer said, “Thank you for this event and to all that participated and generously shared their stories… It has reinvigorated me to take action again.”

Board movements

Our ASC Board recently farewelled two of its members, Rebecca Lowdes and Celia Reynolds, due to their increased paid work commitments. Our Board and ASC  have benefited greatly from Rebecca and Celia’s contributions and we thank them for their exceptional service and wish them well in their new positions.

ASC Chair, Betty Hounslow, welcomes the appointment of two new members to our Board. Michelle Champ and Heather Payne who, amongst other attributes, will contribute valuable financial management and impact analysis skills to the Board’s deliberations and decisions. Heather and Michelle also bring a deep commitment to enhancing the rights and well-being of people seeking asylum, and the Board looks forward to working with them.

Warm regards

Frances Rush OAM
Chief Executive Officer

Breaking: NSW govt announces $6m funds for temporary visa holders ASC helps people seeking asylum get medications in lockdown