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Organisations in Brisbane

There are many organisations across Brisbane who are working hard to support refugees and asylum seekers in our community and advocate for their rights. This list covers many of the organisations working in this space and outlines how you can get involved as a volunteer.

Who they are and what they do How to get in touch How you can get involved
BRASS NetworkThe Brisbane Refugee and Asylum Seeker Support Network includes representatives from many of the below organisations. We come together to collaborate and share information across the sector. All are welcome to join or become involved. Get in contact!

Have a query? Email: brass.netw@gmail.com

Want to join the mailing list or have news or events you would like to share? Email: brass.comms@gmail.com

Monthly meetings
When: last Friday of each month
Time: 10 am – 12 pm
Venue: Justice Place, Woolloongabba
Multicultural Development Association (MDA)Settles newly arrived refugees, asylum seekers and migrants in Brisbane, Rockhampton and Toowoomba. It is one of the leading settlement agencies in Queensland providing support to refugees and migrants through community development, advocacy and a range of client services. Volunteer Coordinatorvco@mdabne.org.au
(07) 3337 5428
Volunteers extend the role of MDA staff by providing companionship, assistance and support. The aim of the program is to offer a warm welcome to refugees, asylum seekers and migrants and help them settle into their homes and community.It includes:

  • One off events and festivals (eg lantern parade, community festival)
  • Activities, eg cricket, fishing
  • Walking with people – family match program

Our family match volunteers are the cultural bridge for refugees in understanding their new home. Volunteers meet with a family and support neighbourhood and home orientation, English tuition, and cultural understanding of general life in Australia. Volunteers must be able to commit to an hour or two a week for a period of six months and be willing to work within the MDA family match guidelines.

Volunteering usually requires a one-day training program, a ‘working with children check’ (Blue Card), the names and contact details of two referees, and being able to volunteer a few hours per week or fortnight for a minimum of 6 months.

Red Cross – QueenslandThe Migration Support Programs (MSP) provide effective and responsive services to people who are vulnerable as a result of migration, such as those separated by war and disaster, refugees, asylum seekers and immigration detainees.Programs in MSP include, Tracing & Restoration of Family Links, Immigration Detention Program, Asylum Seeker Assistance Scheme, Community Detention, Community Assistance Support, & Support for Trafficked People. Volunteer Coordinator for the Migration Support Programsqld_msp_volunteer@redcross.org.au
(07) 3367 7222
49 Park Road, Milton, QLD 4064
Red Cross are keen to hear from you if you are interested in volunteering on their many projects with a current focus on assisting Case Workers in the Community Detention Program.

  • Brisbane and surrounding areas
  • Ongoing with a minimum of a 6 month commitment
  • Available during business hours Mon -Fri, for one day per week
  • Fluency in Arabic, Farsi or Tamil languages is valuable
  • People who are available for early morning transfers at the airport

Applicants who currently possess a current Blue Card (Working with Children) check are desirable.

Mercy Family ServicesCarries out a Multicultural Program that provides settlement assistance, casework support and community development initiatives for refugees and migrant families in the Brisbane/Logan area. MFS Multicultural Program includes Unaccompanied Humanitarian Minors (UHM) and Community Detention (Families and Minors) programs as well as Settlement Grants and Volunteer programs based at the Romero Centre.The Romero CentreWelcomes and supports asylum seekers and refugees, in particular former detainees (“boat people”) and their families. The centre organises activities for refugees and asylum seekers, acts as an advocacy centre for refugees, and aims to educate the community about the refugee experience. Volunteer coordinator, Romero Centrevolunteer@romerocentre.org.au(07) 3013 010020
Dutton Street, Dutton Park QLD 4102PO Box 6115, Buranda Q 4102 www.romerocentre.org.auwww.mercyfamilyservices.org.au
Volunteers are at the core of Romero Centre. They work across our programs and activities, providing valuable practical and social support in all areas of settlement and community development.Volunteers work on a range of activities and projects including:

  • English language classes
  • men’s and women’s social groups
  • child minding
  • community festivals and event organisation
  • school holiday programs
  • migration advice support
  • filling forms
  • home tutoring
  • transport and appointment assistance
  • visiting the Brisbane Immigration and Transit Accommodation (detention centre) at Pinkenba.

There are also opportunities to become involved in MFS’ UHM and Community Detention Programs in the areas of casework and settlement support, home tutoring or mentoring for young people.Volunteering requirements include:

  • A current Working with Children Blue Card
  • Fluency in Hazaragi, Persian or Tamil is desirable.
  • Depending on positions available, volunteering can be carried out on a weekly, fortnightly, on-call, or one-off basis.

Please contact the volunteer coordinator to discuss current available roles.

Uniting Care Community Scattered People ChoirThis group of musicians has been working for many years with people new to Australia, sharing enjoyment of music and songs from different cultures. They regularly visit the BITA (Brisbane Immigration Transit Accommodation) detention centre. Brian ProcopisCommunity Development Programs Coordinator(Scattered People Choir)
07 33624 2403
The Scattered People provides a safe space using music to allow humanities to intermingle, to soften traumas, to create solidarity and to nurture hopes.It is comprised of asylum seekers, refugees and kindred spirited locals. If you are open-hearted, have a sense of justice, can sing or play an instrument and want to be a part of this, please call Brian. The Scattered People take their music to the BITA Detention Centre each week.
St Vincent de Paul Society QueenslandOffers a number of services for migrants and refugees throughout Queensland, including:

  • Advocacy, migration advice
  • Conference assistance
  • Family reunification
  • Emergency housing
  • Employment training
  • English tutoring through VoRTCS

Their key program includes the Volunteer Refugee Tutoring and Community Support (VoRTCS).

These volunteers have also been involved in a new initiative, Building Learning Communities, to create a network of homework clubs and learning support resources.

VoRTCS Program Coordinatortutoring.vortcs@svdpqld.org.auinfo.vortcs@svdpqld.org.au
07 3010 1083
General queries: www.vinnies.org.au/home-qld
One of the key ways to support St Vincents work with refugees is to support the Volunteer Refugee Tutoring and community Support (VoRTCS) program.The VoRTCS program aims to assist refugee families take up the opportunities that exist in Australian society. A major part of the VoRTCS Program is the Refugee Tutoring program, which provides free in-home English language and community support. VoRTCS sends pairs of volunteer tutors out to the homes of refugee families. VoRTCS is based in South Brisbane and operates over a large area of SE Qld, including Brisbane, Logan & Ipswich.Building Learning Communities has established an extensive list of existing homework clubs, information about best practice and how to get involved. For further information contact VoRTCS.
Queensland Program of Assistance to Survivors of Torture and Trauma (QPASTT)Provides flexible and cultural sensitive services to promote the health and wellbeing of people who have been tortured or who have suffered refugee related trauma prior to migrating to Australia. QPASST28 Dibley Street, Woolloongabba Qld 4102admin@qpastt.org.au
07 3391 6677
www.qpastt.org.auQPASST also have offices in Toowoomba, Cairns and Townsville.
Because of the specialised nature of their work, volunteering opportunities are limited.However, people are encouraged to volunteer at their after school Homework Club for high school students.
West End WelcomesIs welcoming hub – offering English conversation and a shared meal once a week to new arrivals. Every Tuesday from 5.00pm – 6.30pmThe Hall, St Andrew’s Church, 160 Vulture Street, South Brisbanewestendwelcomes@gmail.comfacebook.com/WestEndWelcomes Volunteers who want to create a culture of welcome within their community are invited to come along and spend time with new arrivals to our community (mostly asylum seekers in temporary accommodation).
Access Community Services IncACCESS Services provides settlement services to newly arrived migrants and refugees to Australia. Access operates in the South East Queensland Region. 07 3412 822292 Wembley Rd, Logan Centre, QLDwww.accesscommunity.org.au Access has an active volunteer program. For more information contact Access.
Australian Homestay Network (AHN)Community Placement Network (CPN)CPN offers short-term (six week), homestay accommodation to eligible asylum seekers leaving immigration detention.Homestay Helping Hand ProgramA new longer-term program designed to help marginalised people connect and/or reconnect with the community through active participation and contribution in AHN managed Homestay accommodation (including Asylum Seekers, Refugees, Women in need, Homeless, Youth in crisis and Seniors etc.). www.homestaynetwork.org1300 “MY STAY”
(1300 697 829 or +61 2 8905 0321)
Opportunities exist for friendly individuals or families to volunteer as Community Placement Network or Homestay Helping Hand Program hosts. For example CPN supports hosts with a range of services:

  • Full training
  • 24/7 CPN homestay support phone line (for host and guests)
  • Online information and communication portal
  • Secure administration support (payments and receipting)
  • Reimbursement to hosts to help contribute to anticipated expenses
  • Appropriate and compulsory insurance cover (for hosts and guests)
  • Assistance with guest management.

It is an interesting and rewarding experience where hosts can help asylum seekers learn some basic living skills in Australian society and settle into the community.

Amnesty International – Qld / Nthn NSWThe Refugee and Asylum Network aims at raising awareness about, and encouraging advocacy, for asylum seekers and refugees’ rights in our community. Qld & Nthn NSW Amnesty Internationalqldrefugeenetwork@amnesty.org.au07 3136 6404Level 1, 354 Brunswick Street, Fortitude Valley, Brisbanewww.amnesty.org.au/qld Amnesty undertakes advocacy and campaign based work. It has an established Refugee and Asylum Network, runs events and training.Change the conversation training helps you to understand the facts about asylum seekers in Australia, learn how to handle people’s objections and feel comfortable and confident to discuss this issue with friends, family and colleagues. Join the network, sign up for emails or attend an event or training session.
Refugee Action CollectiveRAC in Brisbane is a broad group of concerned people from all walks of life dedicated to fighting for the rights of refugees and asylum seekers, and for the reform of Australia’’s immigration policies. Paul McKinnonpaul@rac-qld.orgPO Box 5829, West End, Qld 4101
07 3392 3843www.rac-qld.org
The RAC in Brisbane engages in a variety of activities as a part of it’s campaigning, such as holding stalls, writing media articles, organising public meetings and film nights, trade union lobbying, community liaison, and many other activities.RAC activists and volunteers choose which activities they would like to be involved in, in light of their particular skills, availability and interests.
Welcome to AustraliaEngages everyday Australians in the task of cultivating a culture of welcome in our nation. The Australia we love is known for its diversity, compassion, generosity and commitment to giving all people a fair go. welcome@welcometoaustralia.org.au
W2A would like to help you say a big ‘Welcome to Australia’ to asylum seekers, refugees, new arrivals and other migrants. One way you can do this is to host a ‘Welcome Party’ in your home, street, office, sporting club or other community group to very publicly celebrate the beauty and depth that diversity adds to our nation.There’s also many other ways you can personally get involved in offering practical acts of welcome to new Australians.
Life Without BarriersLife Without Barrier’s provides physical and emotional support to unaccompanied minors, aged 12-18 years old, whose application for an Australian visa is being processed and to those who have been granted residency. They operate predominantly on the South side of Brisbane. Support for Refugees and Asylum Seekers ProgramUnit 4/9 Station Road, Logan Central07 3208 1311
Refugee Claimants Support ServiceProvides services including English tuition, emotional support, information and referral, some limited material support and assistance.They are based at Nundah Neighborhood Centre, which also offers client access a full range of services in one place including:

  • safe play areas for children with a sandpit
  • a community garden
  • playgroups
  • English lessons
  • access to computers.
Nundah Neighborhood Centre & Community Legal Service14 Station Street, NundahMon & Wed, 10am-3pm with appointmentFor all enquiries please call UnitingCare Community’s Chermside office (07) 3624 2400 or call the Refugee Claimants Support Servicemobile number 0447 143 994
Harmony PlaceMulticultural Centre for Mental Health and Well Being Inc.Harmony Place is a unique, community based agency providing mental health and wellbeing services to Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) background people and communities. www.harmonyplace.org.au
30 Shottery Street, Yeronga Qld07 3848 1600
BEMACBEMAC is the lead agency in Queensland for the development, presentation, promotion and advocacy of arts by migrant and refugee artists and their communities. www.bemac.org.au Monday – Friday 10am – 5pm07 3391 4433admin@bemac.org.auBEMAC is located at the Queensland Multicultural Centre, Level 1, 102 Main Street, Kangaroo Point
Ethnic Communities Council of Queensland (ECCQ)Support and advocate for the needs, interests and contributions of culturally and linguistically diverse communities in Queensland. www.eccq.com.auECCQ House, 253 Boundary Street, West End(07) 3844 9166administration@eccq.com.au
Other English conversation, tutoring and welcome hub opportunities If you want to find out about other nearby English conversation classes or welcoming hubs you could also try contacting:

  • MDA – about other “welcome hubs”
  • VoRTCS – about the Building Learning Communities (homework clubs)
  • Your English Corner – online resource for free English classes (www.yourenglishcorner.net)
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