Circle of Friends receives Red Cross Humanitarian Partner Award

On Tuesday at the Red Cross SA AGM, Circle of Friends was presented with the Australian Red Cross Humanitarian Partner Award with the following citation:

Australian Red Cross
Humanitarian Partner Award
Circle of Friends Australia consists of local community groups which support refugees and asylum seekers living in the community, or visit those in detention. Members of each Circle are volunteers who come from a wide range of backgrounds but share a common commitment to welcoming and assisting new arrivals with the difficult process of establishing themselves in a new country, with the challenges of detention. Eighteen of the Circles are located in the greater Adelaide metropolitan area.

Circles of Friends in South Australia has provided exceptional support to people seeking asylum in the community. The Circles work closely with the Migration Support Program Emergency Relief staff to assist people seeking asylum with material needs such as rent payments, medical and pharmaceutical expenses, educational support, and the cost of health and fitness activities, amongst many more.

In response to COVID-19, the COVID Support Circle was established and led by Catherine Russell. With the support of the Department of Social Services Funds were facilitated by Red Cross in SA, along with other funds raised by the Circle, the COVID Support Circle delivered food parcels to 150 households for 11 months, involving 60 volunteers. This food service was exceptional in supporting our joint clients who had been impacted by the loss of work due to the pandemic.

In a similar fashion, the release of 11 families and 9 single people (a total of 60 individuals) from Community Detention in late 2020, the Circles of Friends raised funds to support the housing costs of the majority of these people, while Australian Red Cross was able to provide financial assistance for six months or until people gained employment.

Without the ongoing collaboration with Circle of Friends, Emergency Relief within Migrant Support Programs would not have been able to assist those in greatest need.

Circle of Friends Australia are worthy recipients of this Humanitarian Partner Award.

Signed by Ross Piney – Red Cross President August 2021

Many Circles were involved in assisting families and individuals through the COVID pandemic:

Other Circles are also doing excellent work and are worthy recipients of this award.

We are grateful to Red Cross for this recognition of our work. None of us can do everything that is needed, so partnerships and collaboration are crucially important. We work with many agencies and institutions in Adelaide and SA. I’d also like to acknowledge the committee, all the circle members and our donors for all the generosity and volunteer work so many people undertake.

Than you

Monica O’Wheel
Chair, Circle of Friends Australia Inc