The Wayville Circle (Circle 111) had its origins in 2012 with the opening of the Inverbrackie Detention Centre. It was established by a number of members from Christchurch Uniting, Wayville who were visiting asylum seekers in the detention centre. Following the closure of Inverbrackie in 2014 other people, who had been involved in supporting those in the detention centre, joined the Circle so that they could continue working with the asylum seekers now living in the community. We come from a wide range of backgrounds but share a common commitment to welcoming and assisting people seeking asylum with establishing themselves in a new country. The members believe that it is important to offer friendship as well as practical support. We seek to help these new arrivals to our country to feel that they are a part of a community in which they can make friends and find support. The members of the Circle provide a wide range of practical support including:
- helping asylum seekers to find private rental accommodation,
- sourcing furniture, household items, clothing, toys,
- help find employment by assisting with the preparation of resumes and transport to job interviews,
- providing funds or helping to source funds for urgent dental and medical treatment,
- taking asylum seekers to the appointments,
- helping with driving lessons,
- helping to negotiate payment plans for electricity bills etc.,
- sourcing funding to pay for Sand Play Therapy for traumatised children,
- raising funds to pay for vital interpreter services, so that the asylum seekers, we support, have the best chance possible to make their claim for a Temporary Protection or Safe Haven Enterprise Visa under the fast track processing system,
- putting in place opportunities for some of the women we support to develop their existing written and spoken English skills so they are better able to study or to find employment,
- assisting Young Mercy Links SA to run activity afternoons for girls to help foster friendship and a sense of community,
- working with Surf Life Saving SA to find 150 participants to take part in the “Ride the Wave” program, which they established in response to our request with funding from a SA government grant. This educates new arrivals about beach safety, first aid, provides a full year membership to a surf life club (who will provide a buddy to work with the new member) and also provide all the necessary clothing need to participate at no cost,
- organising social events such as Harmony Day Party, end of year picnics for the families and their supporters, a trip to the zoo, children’s music afternoons, school holiday outings to various aquatic centres and Mother’s Day celebrations where the children present their Mothers with flowers and chocolates provided by our volunteers.
Members of the Wayville Circle were also instrumental in reigniting “Justice for Refugees” to lobby the government to change their harsh policies and laws relating to asylum seekers and also to educate the broader community about the plight of people seeking asylum in Australia and those in detention on Christmas Island, Manus Island and Nauru. The Wayville Circle holds regular meetings for planning events and where the current needs of the families being supported are discussed, progress reviewed and future activities planned. Please contact Anne Harren on 0402 521 312 or Val Thomas on 0439 440 486 for details of these meetings.