The support services at Arrupe Place for people seeking asylum living in the community have been recognized with the 2015 Community Wellbeing Award given by the Australian Psychological Society (APS).
“This award is a fitting tribute to the Shelter Project team, both volunteers and staff, for their dedication, compassion, and hard work,” said Maeve Brown, Arrupe Place’s Shelter Project Coordinator.
Arrupe Place was established in Parramatta by the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) in early 2015 and provides people seeking asylum, primarily in Western Sydney, with practical support for day-to-day essentials through its Shelter Project.
The principal criteria for the APS awards were the involvement of volunteers and that the work “made a valuable contribution to the wellbeing of those in their local community”.
Ms Brown said that many people seeking asylum are isolated in the community, and providing them with a secure place to go for assistance makes a significant difference to their physical and mental well-being.
“Our goal at Arrupe Place is to ensure these people can live independently and with dignity while feeling connected to the local community,” said Ms Brown.
“The programmes are designed to provide practical support for those people seeking asylum who face basic challenges such as paying for accommodation, medical treatment and food, or just learning English,” she said. “Most importantly we aim to provide a space where people feel safe and welcome.”
Ms Brown acknowledged and thanked the support of JRS partners in Arrupe Place including The Australian Red Cross, The Refugee Advice and Casework Service (RACS) and The Sisters of Mercy Parramatta, as well as the sisters of Charity and Sisters of the Good Samaritan.
Arrupe Place was nominated for the award by Parramatta City Council.