Starting a new school year or moving into a new area can be a daunting time for a child and their family.
For many preschool children, their Community Hub will be their first interaction with their future primary school. Being a part of a Hub can help them to feel at home in their school environment and more prepared to start school.
Left to right: Community Hubs leaders: Zeinab Musseme, Eva Hanna, Lina Mourad, Maria Skotoris, Marina Boutros and Liza Moscatelli.
Community Hubs is a national program funded by the Scanlon Foundation through Community Hubs Australia (formerly Refuge of Hope), the Federal government through the Settlement Services Program and contributions from state governments, corporations and participating schools and community centres.
The Hubs play a pivotal role in supporting migrant and refugee parents and children to navigate the education system, building parenting and family capacity, and promoting links between families and local services and networks.
Hubs operate across three states — NSW, Victoria and Queensland — and aim to strengthen social cohesion and inclusion within local communities, and deliver outcomes for children, families, schools and the wider community.
SSI is the designated Support Agency for NSW, where Hubs are located across three local government areas.
In the Bankstown LGA the Hubs are at Banksia Road Public in Greenacre, Chester Hill Public, Georges Hall Public, St Brendan’s Catholic Primary in Bankstown and Yagoona Public.
In Parramatta LGA the Hubs are at Rydalmere Public School, Westmead Public School and Information and Cultural Exchange (ICE) at Parramatta.
In the Blacktown LGA there are Hubs at Blacktown North Public, Bert Oldfield Public in Seven Hills, Colyton Public at Mt Druitt and All Saints of Africa in Blacktown.
Located within easy reach of their communities, the Hubs use a place-based community engagement approach to address the needs of families and children at a local level.
Hub activities focus on migrant and refugee families and children, linking them to early years and other community services and offer services such as skills training, English classes, sewing and breakfast clubs, as well as volunteering opportunities and community events.
Being part of a Hub can help families create friendships and support networks, and give a sense of belonging.
Services within Community Hubs are delivered by part-time Hub leaders.
Last month seven out of 12 NSW Hub leaders officially commenced as employees of SSI.
Their first week was an opportunity for leaders to be familiarised with SSI teams, programs and procedures. It was also a time to review Hubs activities and programs and share success stories and challenges.
After spending a week in various SSI locations the team felt well connected to SSI and to each other.
Community Hub programs will operate during school terms. During school holidays the teams will come together to evaluate their work and to plan for the terms ahead.