Bathurst Refugee Support Group
Our group was established in December 1998 as Bathurst Inter-Church Refugee Support Group. Its name has since been changed to reflect that it is now a secular group.
This is what we do:
- We meet once a month. Meetings are held on the 4thThursday of every month (except in December), from 5 – 6 pm, at the Activities Hall, Uniting Church, Bathurst. All interested people are welcome, whether members or not..
- We organise local events to raise awareness about refugee and asylum seeker issues. Two of these events have been: The 2014 guest lectures by Prof. Gillian Triggs, President of the Australian Human Rights Commission; and by Phil Glendenning from the Edmund Rice Centre and currently President of the Refugee Council of Australia, both events in partnership with Bathurst Regional Council and Charles Sturt University.
- We offer short-term respite to refugees or asylum seekers living in Sydney at the Kath Knowles House of Welcome.
- We work closely with STARTTS (Service for Rehabilitation and Treatment of Torture and Trauma Survivors) and also with the Sydney House of Welcome in conjunction with RAFAS (the Bathurst-based Rural Australians for Asylum Seekers).
- We offer practical support to individual local refugees and refugees who may wish to relocate to Bathurst from Sydney.
- We raise and provide modest financial support to other organisations that directly assist refugees and asylum seekers living in Australia or in detention.
- We, as a group and individually advocate for a humane asylum policy that upholds Australia’s obligations under the Refugee Convention and respects human rights, including an end to mandatory and indefinite detention.
Our funds come from fundraising events, occasional grants by Bathurst Regional Council, and a small yearly membership fee. In June 2015, we were fortunate in receiving a grant from the Mercy Action Support Fund that has helped us with offering hospitality and settling-in support to asylum seeker families who had relocated to Bathurst from Sydney.
In 2010, the Bathurst Refugee Support Group was honoured to receive the Regional/Rural Humanitarian Award jointly presented by STARTTS (NSW Service for the Treatment and Rehabilitation of Torture and Trauma Survivors) and the Refugee Council of Australia.