Ballarat Welcome Centre

Our work continues at the Ballarat Welcome Centre. Stage one is now complete, which was to make the Community Hall a COVID-safe, temporary working environment, allowing us to continue some of our community programs.

Whilst we have to share this space with our storage of furniture, it is great to see some activity back in the building, and some of our staff meetings and vital programs resuming, such as our community Fresh Food Drop-Off program.

Due to COVID restrictions, our wonderful team has endured the last 5-6 months working from home, but now as we open the doors a little, it’s nice to have some designated areas where we can meet, share a cuppa and discuss our work.

Next stage will be work in the older heritage part of the building. Very exciting! Let the renovations begin!

Thrive Garden Project

The Thrive Garden is a pilot growing project supported by Ballarat Foundation to increase access to culturally resonant fresh food to Ballarat’s diverse multicultural communities.

With mentoring from Ballarat Community Garden, we have installed two wicking beds at the rear entrance of the Ballarat Welcome Centre at Barkly Square. From suggestions and donations from the community, we are going to plant chillies, Vietnamese mint, corn, okra, silverbeet, beans and herbs.

If this sounds exciting to you, we are keen to hear from you and develop a group of volunteers to maintain the garden. Please contact Rebecca at

Fresh Food Drop-Off

We are accepting fresh food donations each Monday, Tuesday and Thursday between 11am – 12pm at 25-39 Barkly St (rear entry of the Ballarat Welcome Centre).

Donations assist Ballarat households and families in need. Particularly useful items include: onions, carrots, potatoes, pumpkin, corn, spinach, leafy greens, garlic, ginger, chillies, coriander, lentils, beans and rice (Basmati or Jasmine).

If you know any gardeners that may have a surplus of fruit and vegetables, please let them know about the Fresh Food Drop-Off.

Community Engagement Team

Heeyoung Lim, Community Engagement Team Leader, and Community Engagement workers Abdul Rasuli, Lunorphare Folly, and Nyepuot Riek, are now working in various directions to engage multicultural communities and provide community outreach services that help reduce economic and social impacts to community members in Ballarat due to COVID-19.

In this newsletter, we would like to introduce you to the special program that the Community Engagement team has been planning and preparing for multicultural mothers who have children under 5 years of age.

“Our children are our greatest treasure. They are our future. Those who abuse them tear at the fabric of our society and weaken our nation.” (Nelson Mandela)

Everyone would agree that our children are our greatest treasure. We hope all children of multicultural parents will have bright smiles on their faces, and live as a proud member of the society, fulfilling their dreams to the fullest.

Developing Our Children Together is a multicultural information and mentoring project designed to support Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) Women to fully appreciate the value of early childhood services directed at education, health, and family wellbeing. It will support them in accessing a range of appropriate services based on their family needs. Along with sustained outcomes for children, their mothers will be supported to make positive choices in their family life in a safe, child focused framework.

We hope this program will support the newly arrived women better understand and value the range of early childhood services, the quality of the system available to them, and the ethical and legal frameworks surrounding the rights of children. Furthermore, we hope that mothers with children will not be isolated from this society and they will make precious friends in life, and that their networks will expand in the community.

For further information, contact Heeyoung Lim, Community Engagement Coordinator:

Good Governance Program

The program offers free, flexible and customised mentoring support to community organisations to help them navigate their governance and compliance challenges. Our volunteer mentor Dr Sundram Sivamalai met Ballarat Keralites Foundation of Australia (BKFA) committee members on 24 October to discuss their projects and governance issues.

We welcome applications from community organisations, cultural groups and associations looking for good governance mentoring support. For details contact Sarabjit at

Diversity Homework Club

The Diversity Homework Club students received their learning kits on 14 October. The kits included reading logs, activity books, interactive games and reusable masks.

DHC-Online October meetings were a lot of fun. The students played Kahoot, made PowerPoint presentations, participated in group play reading sessions and created art. They led the club meetings with warm-up games, ‘word-of-the-day’, charades and fun-facts whilst practising their public speaking skills.

DHC Reading program: The students were given ‘Reading logs’ to fill and share each week. A ‘Know your local library’ session was organised for the students. Lesley Morgan, Coordinator of Community Engagements and Partnerships met the students to talk about library memberships, activities, free reading app and online resources. The interactive session had the students asking questions about borrowing eBooks and participating in the online activities hosted by local libraries.

Our committed team of volunteer tutors used the weekly Community of Practice sessions to share teaching ideas, plan sessions and create learning resources for the students. Reflective practice roundtable discussions were organised after each DHC session.

Our partnership with Ballarat Interfaith Network and City of Ballarat envisages a virtual choir to be commissioned early next year.

DHC Gallery – A glimpse into our beautiful world of learning:

Community Volunteers: Migrant English Program

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.

A big shout-out to our committed team of volunteer tutors for their untiring efforts to bring English learning and smiles to their students.

Do you want to give back to the community and empower individuals from migrant-refugee backgrounds? Send an email to Sarabjit at for information on how you can join the Volunteer Tutor team.

Social Support

The Social Support Team will continue to offer Home Deliveries to Social Support members through to the week of Christmas.

If you know someone who would benefit from BRMC Social Support Services contact Teresa on 0417 109 052 or

BRMC’s Social Support group has grown to number about 140 participants who bring a wonderfully diverse and rich cultural heritage representing 26 countries from the UK and Europe, Asia, Africa, Latin America and Australia. Many of our Seniors are generous in sharing their personal stories and journey to make a new life in Australia. We are privileged to feature Lolita’s story.


Lolita was born on the Negros Occidental island of the Philippines archipelago. She grew up close to the sea, and loves the sound of the waves still. She was part of a large extended family, and grew up speaking the local language Ilonggo, Tagalog (national language of the Philippines) and English at school. Lolita’s mother was a very good cook: often dinner was a Filipino style spaghetti bolognese, seafood, fresh vegetable and curries. As a child, Lolita often went ‘fishing’ for mussels, clams and pipis.

In 1985 Lolita met her partner (“my sweetheart”) of 32 years, the Australian artist James Egan and she came to Australia a year later. Lolita came directly to Bungaree where James had his art gallery. She helped him run the gallery in Bungaree for 20 years, after which they re-located the gallery to Addington.

James painted Lolita often, she was his muse, he said. He enjoyed her cooking too. His favourite dish was Lolita’s Chicken Arroz Caldo (chicken soup with rice – try out her recipe here). A close second was Chicken Adobo (a signature dish of the Philippines, often cooked with pork, click here for the recipe).

Read Lolita’s full story: