We have cleared the holiday cobwebs at the Ballarat Welcome Centre and flung open the doors for 2021. With a COVID-19 plan in place we are offering services while we continue to repair and renovate the space. As the pandemic continues to challenge many, especially those with families overseas, BRMC continues to offer support and referral information for people in our community in financial hardship or isolation. Don’t hesitate to call our office on 03 5383 0613 if you want some information about support.

Thrive Garden Project

Last month really showed us the value of wicking beds. Even during the hottest weeks, we watered only every 4 to 5 days. As you can see in the photos, the corn, tomatoes and pumpkin are clearly flourishing. Because the water is drawn from the bottom of the bed rather than the top, evaporation is greatly reduced. Perhaps more importantly, the time consuming labour of watering is minimised.

The beds continue to supply herbs to A Pot of Courage and green beans and silverbeet have been regularly harvested and distributed to households. Despite having only two small beds in this pilot project, they work very efficiently and produce a surprising amount of food. This demonstrates the power and potential of small scale gardening to improve food security amongst households. The challenge is in removing barriers to produce food at home due to house insecurity, rental restrictions and lack of basic infrastructure.

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

Community Engagement Team

Join the ‘Developing Our Children Together’ program

We invite you to join BRMC’s new early parenting engagement workshops and parents’ connection sessions. This program will be provided in partnership with the Government, Private and Community Organisations, which offer early childhood service programs including City of Ballarat, Ballarat Community Health, and Playgroup Victoria.

Please do not miss out on the opportunity to obtain useful information about early childhood programs in the Ballarat region and to have meaningful and enjoyable time with other parents and children.

Group 1, 7 sessions: March 4, 11, 18, 25 | April 22, 29 | May 6
Group 2, 7 sessions: May 27 | June 3, 10, 17, 24 | July 15, 22

If you would like to join this program or need further information, please contact Community Engagement Team Leader, Heeyoung: hy.lim@brmc.org.au.

Good Governance Program

The first in the series of 2021 Governance workshops was held on 28 January. The attending mentors, committee members to program coordinators shared ideas, comments and resources on the essentials and customisation of ‘Committee Manuals’.

The next governance workshop ‘Setting your purpose’ will take place on 22 February. For more details, contact the Ballarat Host Coordinator Sarabjit at s.kaur@brmc.org.au.

Community Volunteers: Migrant English Program

Throughout 2020, the Migrant English Program (MEP) provided free online English learning support to people in Ballarat, Ararat and Horsham. Some of our clients received training to prepare for their IELTS, PTE and OET qualifying tests. We are proud of our committed team of volunteer tutors who seamlessly transitioned from face-to-face to online tutoring. Their untiring efforts continue to empower individuals find better work and social opportunities.

To register as a student or tutor with MEP, contact Sarabjit at s.kaur@brmc.org.au.

Planning for tutors’ Orientation Training and Community of Practice sessions is underway. Watch this space for updates!

Diversity Homework Club

The Diversity Homework Club (DHC) students and tutors worked through the holidays to record their virtual choir ‘A Better Place’. The attendees at the World Interfaith Harmony week flag-raising ceremony got a sneak peek into the heart-warming song at its premiere on Monday, 1 February. ‘A Better Place’ will be released online during City of Ballarat’s Harmony Fest in March.

Our weekly DHC meetings commence on Wednesday, 10 February from 4.15pm to 5.30pm. Contact Sarabjit, DHC Coordinator at s.kaur@brmc.org.au to register as a student, tutor or peer tutor.

Social Support

BRMC is pleased to be operating at present with eased COVID-19 restrictions and plans to offer all of our vibrant programs in 2021. We are excited to see our senior clients together again and look forward to reimplementing face-to-face activities. All home deliveries will cease while face-to-face programs are being delivered. If restrictions are increased in the future we will be in touch with other plans.

February Programs

Tai Chi: February 9, 16 & 23, 1pm – 2pm ($8)
Multicultural Tucker: Wednesday 10 February, 12pm – 3pm ($10)
Social Hub: Thursday 18 February, 1pm – 3pm ($5)
Seasonal Lunch: Wednesday 24 February, 12pm – 2pm ($10)

All programs will be held at Victoria Bowling Club, 231 Victoria St, Ballarat East. Bookings are essential.

If you know someone who would benefit from BRMC Social Support Services, contact Teresa on 0417 109 052 or t.azzopardi@brmc.org.au.