Introducing the Development and Relief Agency

With established agencies offering education, social services, banking, early education and pastoral services to the local community; the diocese will expand further with the announcement of the new Development and Relief Agency (DARA).

Responsible to our existing Business and Community Engagement area under Finance and Administration Services, DARA’s purpose is to act as a public benevolent institution (PBI) for the relief of suffering, distress, alienation, helplessness and social disadvantage. This is closely aligned with our mission as a diocese – to live the joy of the Gospel and share it with the world.

Committed to an equitable, inclusive and just society where each person is supported to reach their potential irrespective of financial circumstances, gender, age, ethnicity or religion; DARA supports the homeless and socially isolated, refugees and displaced persons and indigenous communities. Working to complement our established diocesan ministries including social justice, hospital chaplaincy, grief support and youth; DARA initially comprises of two key services:

  • DARA’s Van (previously the Community Care Van)
  • Refugee Hub (previously Refugee Service)

Through these two services, DARA works to provide:

  • practical assistance to respond to immediate daily needs
  • an opportunity for socialisation to reduce the effects of isolation and loneliness
  • a caring, supportive and respectful environment to restore and build self-worth
  • access to focussed educational programs to learn language, self-development and life skills.

Whilst DARA remains an agency of the diocese, it has been agreed that it is visually different and will operate within its own branding guidelines separate to that of the diocese. This is a deliberate decision to ensure DARA is best equipped to deliver on its mission to support some of our community’s most disadvantaged.

Whilst already in operation, DARA will soon be calling for volunteers to assist at both DARA’s Van and Refugee Hub.

If you have any questions regarding DARA or the programs it offers, please contact Manager, Business and Community Engagement – Barry Urwin on 4979 1142 or via email barry.urwin@mn.catholic.org.au

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Bishop Bill Wright Image
Bishop Bill Wright

Most Reverend William (Bill) Wright is the eighth Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle and is the pastoral leader of more than 150,000 Catholics in the region.