A warm welcome for all


May 11, 2023

Simon has learnt so much through volunteering.

As for many, Melbourne’s lockdowns gave Simon time to think about things.

‘Things’ being his interest in volunteering.

“I had been giving thought to doing some type of volunteering for some time,” said Simon.

“It was only during lockdown when we were all at home that I had some extra time.”

Before long Simon signed up to become a volunteer at the Asylum Seeker Welcome Centre in Brunswick.

He started out delivering food and essential items to clients, while also helping to pack boxes at the centre.

However, once Melbourne began to open up again, Simon joined the Saturday excursion program.

Simon says his volunteer role couldn’t be further from his typical job.

“I am so grateful for the opportunity to work with people seeking asylum,” said Simon.

“It’s been very educational for me. I work for a footwear brand and that work is very materialistic. It’s such a change from anything I have ever done.”

Simon feels his experience working at the Welcome Centre has helped him reflect on his own experiences as a migrant coming from the UK.

“Coming to Australia, it’s been easy for me.

“English is my mother tongue, I work in an industry that is desirable and things have always been quite fortunate for me.

“So, meeting some of the Welcome Centre’s clients and hearing the hurdles they’ve gone through, it’s really eye opening.

“I hear about people getting residency after they’ve been in offshore detention centres or in Australia waiting for 11 or 12 years.”

The community at the Welcome Centre is what Simon loves most about his role.

“It’s such a lovely welcoming place,” he says.

“It’s so nice just to be there. Various people come through the doors for various reasons and its always a really positive place to be.”

Learn more about volunteering at Uniting. 

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