Diocese launches new Development and Relief Agency

The Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle is pleased to announce the new Development and Relief Agency (DARA).

DARA’s purpose is to act as a public benevolent institution for the relief of suffering, distress, alienation, helplessness and social disadvantage. Supporting those in our community who are disadvantaged, marginalised, oppressed or isolated by cultural, ethnic or religious differences, DARA provides practical assistance, an opportunity for socialisation and a pathway to independence.

Working under the auspices of Business and Community Engagement, DARA works to complement established diocesan ministries including social justice, hospital chaplaincy, grief support and youth, initially comprising DARA’s Van (previously Community Care Van) and Refugee Hub (previously Refugee Service).

DARA’s Van provides hospitality and friendship to the homeless, socially isolated, financially stressed and all who are vulnerable. Offering food and refreshments, DARA’s Van engages directly with people who may require support and assistance, as well as access to information and other services.

Operated by dedicated volunteer teams, DARA’s Van supports over 60 people each Saturday across a number of events throughout the region. As principal local partner of Orange Sky Laundry in the Newcastle region, DARA’s Van also offers mobile hospitality and support as well as laundry facilities. An exciting collaborative venture between DARA’s Van and Orange Sky Laundry, the mobile hospitality and laundry service is available five nights a week throughout Newcastle and the Hunter.

Refugee Hub plays an integral role in the settlement of refugees in the Newcastle and Hunter region. By working collaboratively with other service providers, Refugee Hub walks with refugees to support and empower them on their journey to independence. Utilising Refugee Hub’s experienced and professional networks, refugees and new migrants are provided with strong advocacy and referral pathways to utilise the supports they need.

Refugee Hub operates a comprehensive and individualised intake and referral system, as well as providing short term casework support for refugees and new migrants to access community services. An outcomes-focused service, Refugee Hub also operates English language programs and facilitates pathways to education, employment and training for refugees and new migrants.

Volunteers are integral to Refugee Hub and each volunteer brings unique talents to help refugees benefit from health, education, social and welfare opportunities.

To learn more, please contact Manager, Business and Community Engagement, Barry Urwin, 4979 1142, email Barry Urwin or visit DARA.

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Kate Bennett Image
Kate Bennett

Kate Bennett is the Communications Manager for the Catholic Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle.

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