Ballarat Welcome Centre

As you may be aware, the Ballarat Welcome Centre is being developed both as a new home for BRMC, and a safe and welcoming place for diverse community members to connect, learn and access opportunities.

Since first opening in 2019, the beautiful Hall within the Welcome Centre has proved a huge success with our communities, hosting a number of activities and events including our popular Twilight Markets, singing and drumming classes, Zumba, and Sitar performance community workshops.

We are now in the next stage of developing the rest of the building to enable further opportunities for community meetings, programs and events. It’s a long process, but also an exciting one, as we uncover a little more each and every day this grand building’s history and community intentions.

BRMC are honoured and privileged to be its latest custodians. We are dedicated to acknowledging its history and relevance to Ballarat’s evolving community past and future.

We hope that the legacy of learning and community spirit which began in 1862 with the founders of the Ballarat East Town Library, and continued with the Ballarat School of Design and then Ballarat Secondary College, will further continue through the objectives of the Ballarat Welcome Centre.

We look forward to bringing you updates of the work being done, and welcoming you all to the centre once completed.

Did you know that our building was originally the Ballarat Town Library? Built in 1862 it was significant at the time because most libraries were not open to general public. This was the first free library in Ballarat, financially supported by rate-payers, and welcoming to all, particularly the working classes and “different creeds”.

New Community Engagement Team

We have seen the widespread impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our daily lives and have come to recognise that community engagement during this period is more important than ever.

The new BRMC Community Engagement Team has been established to help multicultural communities who are facing economic, social and cultural hardships in this situation. The Community Engagement Team, with strong cultural capabilities, will directly engage with people from Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) backgrounds who face a range of challenges as a result of the pandemic.

The team will focus on providing COVID emergency relief services, including COVID-19 Flexible Funding and Technology access support and other services that meet the specific needs of CALD communities impacted by COVID-19.

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

Twilight Market

The BRMC Twilight Market Online held musical market events in the winter season of June, July and August and remains open 24/7 for now.

With the prospect of COVID restrictions easing through regional Victoria and the consequent opening of community markets, BRMC is now surveying Twilight Market Online vendors and visitors to determine their current and future interest in the Twilight Market e-commerce platform.

Stepping Stones Program

During September, Stepping Stones staff undertook the mammoth task of surveying over 2,000 current and past participants in the program.

Designed to provide clear data about the outcomes of the Stepping Stones Program, the survey explored how their participation impacted on improving women’s confidence, financial literacy, community engagement, and building independence through their own business enterprise.

Meanwhile, Ballarat Stepping Stones staff and Mentors are working closely with our local Stepping Stones graduates. While COVID restrictions are still limiting on-the-ground business activities, the Mentor Partnerships have been building stronger foundations for when those enterprises are able to operate freely once again.

Some of the activities that Mentors have been assisting with include:

  • developing cash flow systems
  • developing inventory management for stock
  • improving quality control of goods
  • exploring potential new markets for goods
  • supporting goal-setting and time management
  • documenting new goods and developing promotional copy
  • exploring packaging and labelling options
  • exploring new suppliers
  • brainstorming ideas for future business development

Good Governance Program

We welcome applications from community organisations, cultural groups and associations looking for ‘good governance’ mentoring support to keep afloat during these challenging times. Read the Good Governance newsletter here:

Our current Good Governance mentors attended a Mentor Resource training on 30 September. The attendees discussed the recommended process to support the mentee community organisation(s) to determine priority actions and develop an action plan.

Thriving during COVID Normal webinar will be held for community organisations on 20 October. Contact the Ballarat Host Coordinator Sarabjit at to book a spot for your community organisation.

Diversity Homework Club

The Diversity Homework Club offers free out of school hours learning support to children from diverse backgrounds. Delivered online on Wednesdays and Thursdays 4.15pm – 5pm, the program is popular with students and tutors alike.

The ongoing reading program of the club offers engaging activities to promote a love of reading. The students get a chance to lead games and take turns at presenting their work to the group.

In the MY Education Awards ceremony held online on Tuesday, 22 September, Tim Richardson MP, Parliamentary Secretary for Schools presented the awards. Diversity Homework Club was declared Regional OSHLSP of the Year and awarded a certificate and $400 voucher. Read more:

Our heartiest congratulations to Kathjajini (Kartie), Martha Tuany, Nivashini (Nivash), Nivethaa (Nive), Nyakuey Diew, Sarah Hussein and Bryan Nguyen for winning a $50 reading voucher and certificate each for their creative submissions towards the MY Education Awards.

School’s Out! Workshops

July saw the introduction of the School’s Out! Cultural Workshops. Funded by the Victorian Department of Education and Training, School’s Out! activities complement the strong academic support provided to students through the BRMC Diversity Homework Club.

School’s Out! workshops offer creative making opportunities inspired by community cultural traditions and designed to reinforce students’ skills in numeracy, literacy, observation, pattern development, communication, and hand-to-eye dexterity.

With 20+ Homework Club students signed up for School’s Out! workshops, the project has delivered twice-weekly online sessions in Banner-Making, Beading, Mask-Making, and Drawing Portraits. All sessions are presented by professional artists and community cultural leaders, giving young people across Ballarat an opportunity to learn alongside some of the world’s best cultural ambassadors and communicators – its artists.

With a short break to re-set while students return to face-to-face schooling, the School’s Out! Cultural Workshops return later in October with a program including Weaving, Ceramics, Singing, Wood-Working, Dance and Movement and more!

For more information, contact School’s Out! Coordinator Deborah Klein,

Community Volunteers: Migrant English Program

The Migrant English Program offers free English tutoring support tailored to the students’ needs. The service is currently being delivered online across Ballarat, Beaufort, Ararat and Horsham due to the COVID-19 physical distancing norms. We welcome applications from individuals seeking help with English tutoring support.

We are also looking for new online tutors to join our exciting journey of bringing English learning and smiles to people in the safety and comfort of their homes. Free orientation training and teaching resources will be provided to volunteer tutors. Contact Sarabjit at if you are interested.

Social Support

It’s been lovely to see our seniors getting outside and enjoying some spring sunshine!
Social Support will continue to deliver meals and activity packs up until the week of Christmas.

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

Meet one of our longest BRMC Social Support members:


Tamie joined the BRMC Social Support group more than 12 years ago when she came along to a social event with a Japanese friend. Over the years Tamie has enjoyed attending all social support events from Tucker to Bus Trips, Social Hub and Health & Wellbeing Days, and making many good friends within the BRMC community.

Tamie came to Ballarat from Kure (a town near Hiroshima, Japan) at the age of 20, newly married to Kevin, who was in the Australian Defence Force. Tamie and Kevin created a lovely home surrounded by a beautiful garden which they planted with iconic Japanese plants including cherry blossoms, maples and camellias – a loving tribute to Japan. Sixty-six years later, the garden continues to flourish and is a source of great joy and comfort to Tamie.

Read more about Tamie: