Thrive Garden Project

What a difference a month makes! The Thrive Garden beds have been enjoying the rain and warmth, herbs and vegetables exploding with growth. Despite being planted only four weeks ago, we are already harvesting. You might be tasting coriander from the Thrive Garden in your next meal at A Pot of Courage. The chard is almost ready to begin picking and will go out in our weekly fresh food boxes to families experiencing difficulty. Corn are racing beans ever upwards and the pumpkins are getting ready to cascade over the sides of the beds. Our tomato has its first set of flowers. Spring is such an exciting time.

The Thrive Garden is a pilot growing project supported by The Ballarat Foundation to increase access to culturally resonant fresh food to Ballarat’s diverse multicultural communities. For more information contact thrive@brmc.org.au.

Fresh Food Drop-Off

Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, 11am – 12pm
Ballarat Welcome Centre (rear), 25-39 Barkly St, Ballarat

Thanks to all our Fresh Food donors! Our Fresh Food delivery program is coming to an end for this year. The final day for food drop off is Tuesday 22nd December.

Our Fresh Food program has run from May through the second lockdown, a bleak winter and the gradual reopening of Ballarat. Every week generous donors have delivered fresh vegetables and fruit to BRMC for distribution to households in financial hardship and isolation. We want to thank everyone who gathered vegetables from their garden, bought groceries from the supermarket and shared jam and preserves. Through your generous donations, we assisted over thirty families facing food insecurity during the COVID period.

We would also like to thank Ballarat Refugee and Asylum Seeker Support Network (BRASSN), Ballarat Community Health and The Salvation Army for their support with this program.

Community Engagement Team

This week, BRMC officially launched our new Community Engagement Project ‘Developing Our Children Together’, supported by the Victorian Government Strategic Partnerships Program and the Strategic Engagement Coordination Program.

Developing Our Children Together will provide early parenting support through workshops, playgroups and other activities in 2021. This project aims to support and celebrate multicultural families and enhance their capacity and community connections, especially information and access to the early childhood-related services.

If informational and educational sessions are provided in a multicultural group environment that understand each other’s culture and language, multicultural parents and their children will feel comfortable and safe. This will lead to parents easily learning about different services such as Children’s Health and Safety, Activities for Children and Socialisation, Bringing Up a Child Speaking Two Language classes, Kindergarten, Primary School, and Childcare etc.

For further information, please contact Heeyoung Lim, Community Engagement Team Leader: hy.lim@brmc.org.au

Stepping Stones Program

Many will recognise Noor Safiqa, a Melbourne Stepping Stones Graduate who re-located to Ballarat early in 2019 with her business Lilly Lovecakes – offering delicious and beautiful cakes, cupcakes and sweet biscuits online through her website, at regional farmers markets and at a growing number of astute cafes across town.

COVID restrictions have necessitated a re-set, and Lilly is now managing A Pot of Courage at the Barkly Square café, working alongside another Stepping Stones graduate, Dung Nguyen (far right in photograph below).

Now serving coffee and lunches, the popular social enterprise include some of Lilly’s favourite Malaysian family recipes. They also display and sell the beautiful wares of some of Ballarat’s Stepping Stones enterprises, including: A TUK cushions, Met Tetni aprons and FLORA; artisanal flowers.

And that’s not all… women partnering through A TUK and Met Tetni – Nyibol Deng, Mary Deng, Mary Top, Martha Wal Chol, Joy Sawiche – are regular vendors at Ballarat Farmers Market at Lake Wendouree and the Creswick Farmers Market. They are also mounting Pop-Up Shops at Barkly Square – so watch out for notifications of these events.

Community Volunteers: Migrant English Program

We are proud of our committed team of volunteer tutors. Their untiring efforts continue to empower individuals find better work and social opportunities in Ballarat. The team had their year-end reflective practice session on 28 November. The meeting offered the group the opportunity to share innovative online teaching-learning strategies.

The Migrant English Program offers free English tutoring support tailored to the students’ needs. We welcome applications from individuals seeking help with English tutoring support. Contact Sarabjit at s.kaur@brmc.org.au.

Diversity Homework Club

Diversity Homework Club Online November meetings found the students sharing book reviews, fun facts, words-of-the-day and participating in collaborative song writing – singing workshops.

Some photos of Diversity Homework Club students’ work on ‘values’:


The Diversity Homework Club students received their learning kits on 7 December. Happy holidays, everyone!

School’s Out! Creative Cultural Workshops

From July through December, the School’s Out! Creative Cultural Workshops offered hands-on learning inspired by traditional cultural craft disciplines. Delivered via Zoom, students explored:

  • Banner-Making inspired by the colours and patterns of traditional Ankara (African Wax) cloth, presented by Ghanian artist & musician Mishael Gaybeng
  • Beading, presented by local South Sudanese artisans and Stepping Stones graduates Mary Deng, Mary Top and Nyibol Deng
  • Decorative Mask-Making and Portraiture, presented by Filipino artist & musician Diokno Pasilan
  • Illustration, presented by local artist Deborah Lee Klein
  • Ceramics, presented by ceramic artist and educator Dr. Dawn Whitehand
  • Singing, presented by Seychelle Island musician and educator Stella Savy
  • Wood-Working, presented by local artisan Justen Andrews
  • Weaving, presented by Stepping Stones Mentor Bianca Patetl

Some of the students’ ceramic creations will be incorporated into a special holiday season ‘Our Stories’ window display in the Ballarat CBD through December; images of the students’ work and a performance recording of their singing will also be featured in the planned Ballarat multicultural HarmonyFest virtual exhibition in March 2021.

Social Support

Social Support are excited to announce we will be holding Multicultural Tucker on Wednesday 16th December for all our Social Support participants to enjoy!

For more information about this event or if you would like to attend please contact Teresa on 0417 109 052 – bookings are essential.

Since April the Social Support Team have delivered over 2,500 meals to clients right across the Ballarat region. We’ve been everywhere and boy have we enjoyed the wonderful experiences we have had a long the way! Meeting adored pets everything from cats, dogs, chooks, alpacas, peacocks and much more! We enjoyed mesmerising gardens and listening to wonderful and heroic life stories.

We are privileged to feature Howard & Nenita’s story (as told by Howard).

Howard & Nenita

Nenita and I first met in the late 1970s. I used to sponsor several children through World Vision, and Nenita was the Sponsor Relations Officer who accompanied the sponsors to meet their children. Marissa was the sponsored child I visited. She lived In Dagupan, about 5 hours’ drive from the Philippines capital, Manila.

After I returned to Australia, Nenita and I exchanged letters, and got to know each other quite well. A few visits and many long letters later we spent some time with friends in the Philippines, and I managed to propose to Nenita. After a little while, I received a positive answer, and we were married on January 19th, 1980. Marissa, our sponsored child, was able to attend our wedding, which was fantastic!

During the pandemic we have been blessed by many friends, including our amazing Social Support Team from BRMC, who have helped out with food, manual help and much love, which we have greatly appreciated. We sincerely thank all our friends at BRMC for their continued commitment and dedication to our Seniors. You are all very much appreciated!

Read Howard and Nenita’s full story: www.brmc.org.au/howard-and-nenita-story

BRMC Miniroos Soccer Program

As the year 2020 lingers, drawing closer to Christmas, we thought it would be great to do something enjoyable for the little ones.

At BRMC, everything that is done is about inclusion, diversity, multiculturalism and education. There are always different programs being facilitated to help the Ballarat community with keeping active, gaining more knowledge, and creating new networks. With most activities focusing on the group of 12 to 25 year old’s or older, Miniroos Soccer draws the line at the lower age group. Researched and planned by BRMC and Football Victoria, the program targets younger children in the 5 to 12 year old bracket. Miniroos Soccer is designed to get the kids active, but mostly to help them learn and create networks. We first kicked off on 28th November 2020, with a second session that took place on 5th December 2020. The program has 4 sessions in total.

Read more: www.brmc.org.au/brmc-miniroos-soccer-program

For more information or to register, contact Lunorphare Folly on 0413 572 541 or lk.folly@brmc.org.au.

Twilight Market Online

Calling All Holiday Shoppers! Making a list and checking it twice? It doesn’t matter if they’ve been naughty or nice – Everyone deserves a prize for making it through 2020, and we all know the best kind of prize is a surprise!

The Twilight Market Online is your best one-stop-shop for gifts guaranteed to give gasps of joy and cries of wonder. Offering the very best quality goods from some of our region’s most celebrated market vendors and rising small businesses, the Twilight Market Online has something for everyone on your list.

Order today for pick-up from the Ballarat Welcome Centre until 18 December! https://twilightmarket.brmc.org.au