MOVING to a new community can be a daunting experience for anyone, no matter their age, race or where they have come from.
The Leeton Multicultural Support Group Inc has been helping to make that process easier for migrants and refugees through a number of initiatives, but in many cases it's been as simple as lending an ear to listen or a shoulder to cry on.
The group has been running for several years and its has three main objectives.
- To support the settlement of migrants and refugees by assisting them to connect with any support services they require to be a part of the Leeton community.
- To contribute to the community understanding of the nature of the challenges that migrants and refugees face, and the positive impact newcomers make in our community and immediate region.
- To support cultural events and cultural diversity awareness and sensitivity programs.
With many misconceptions about the migrant and refugee population in Leeton, the group is hopeful residents will continue to increase their tolerance and acceptance of these people.
The group doesn't aim to "attract more refugees or migrants to town" as some may believe, rather offer them support on their arrival and during their time in the shire.
There is also the idea Leeton Shire Council mayor Paul Maytom is active in bringing refugees and migrants to the shire, but that is also not the case.
"We're here to help and support the migrants and refugees in our community," group member Susie Rowe said.
"We do that in a number of ways. We can provide them with information, help them with simple tasks and offer our friendship."
Group members also participate in coffee mornings, particularly women, to socialise and get to know the community.
English lessons through the Leeton TAFE campus are also proving popular.
The group will also be participating in the Leeton Chill and Grill event later this year to showcase a variety of foods from different cultures across two stalls.
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