Settlement support organisations in the Illawarra stand in solidarity with the Muslim community during Harmony Week

Strategic Community Assistance to Refugee Families (SCARF), The Multicultural Communities Council of Illawarra (MCCI), Illawarra Multicultural Service (IMS) and the Illawarra division of the Australian Red Cross Humanitarian Settlement Program (Red Cross HSP), come together to express our deep sympathy to the victims and families of the recent terror attack by a right-wing extremist in Christchurch. We stand in solidarity with the Muslim community and continue to respect cultural diversity here in the Illawarra and around the world during Harmony week.

IMS CEO Raquel Aldunate said:

“IMS sends its heartfelt condolences to the families and friends of those killed and to those injured in the attack. We also condemn the racist and divisive rhetoric expressed by certain politicians and media in Australia both before and after this attack. It serves no purpose other than to instil the fear and hatred which can lead to such attacks.”

SCARF CEO Pippa Rendel urges connection:

“When tragic events occur, it can feel hard to know what to do to support to each other. You may want to reach out to Muslim friends, neighbours and fellow community members who may be feeling distressed or unsafe. We encourage people to make these connections. If you have Muslim neighbours or friends, you may wish to check in with them at this time. A smile or friendly greeting to people you are less acquainted with and those you pass in the street can go a long way to foster a sense of belonging and reinforce community ties. Community gatherings are also a wonderful way for us all to recognise our shared humanity and the strength of the connections between us.”

The Illawarra’s multicultural and settlement support organisations have played an important role in effectively settling refugees and those seeking humanitarian assistance regardless of faith or cultural background. They will continue to work closely with the Muslim community as well as those from other backgrounds. These services will continue to work in collaboration with each other and the wider community to promote the benefits of diversity and support people of all faiths and backgrounds as they build lives in the Illawarra and add to the rich fabric of our community.

Australian Red Cross, HPS Regional Manager Pia Angelucci said:

“The thoughts and hearts of Red Cross are with Muslim communities in New Zealand and everywhere else. People killed as they gathered to pray is a horrifying act against all humanity. To all those affected and all those fearing for their safety and questioning the world around them, we stand with you, always.”

We applaud the response of New Zealand Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern and her inclusive stance against divisive politics. There is no place for anti-immigration, anti-refugee, anti-Muslim beliefs in Australia. This is the time to show support for our diverse communities through programs such as Harmony Week.

MCCI CEO Chris Lacy said:

“Harmony Week commenced on Sunday 17 March and now, as much as ever, it is important for the whole community to come together to show our support for inclusion, diversity and respect and, by doing so, make a statement that we unequivocally reject the extremist views that fuel hate and division in our community.

“I am confident that the people of the Illawarra will come together in this time of need to support our

local Muslim community and stand up for the values of inclusion and respect that make us who we are

as Australians today. We in the Illawarra have a strong history of welcoming and supporting refugees

and migrants from all over the world and, as community, we will continue to do so.”

Wollongong has been recognised as a Refugee Welcome Zone since 2005. During that time the region has accepted thousands of refugees including women, children and families from 14 countries of origin including Burma, African nations, middle east and south America and from various cultural backgrounds, languages and faiths.

The following support services are available to those in the community who might be struggling:

Community Workers Website

The Department of Justice and Legal Aid NSW

We would like to invite you to use our new website and downloadable resource named “Helping your client with legal issues: a guide for community workers”.

The Department of Justice and Legal Aid NSW have prepared this website and resource to help community workers to assist clients, including those from multicultural communities, with their legal issues.

The website and resource covers common legal issues experienced by clients which include:

  • Police
  • Consumer issues
  • Debt and fines
  • Housing
  • Immigration
  • Births Deaths & Marriages
  • Family Law
  • Workplace issues

The website and resource are located at

If you have any questions or wish to provide feedback on this website and resource please email us at

Hair & Beauty courses on offer this month and in 2019.

Diploma of Beauty Therapy and our Certificate III In Beauty Services as well as a number of exciting new Beauty and Hair Short Courses. 

You can view our course info sheets through the links below:

We are the Shoalhaven & Lower South Coast’s very own apprenticeship approved Hair & Beauty College, offering state-of-the-art training facilities combined with expert, highly skilled trainers delivering the best hair & beauty courses.

These are fantastic courses for any of your clients looking to break into the beauty industry, and give great opportunities to enhance their careers.

Please visit our website, or get in touch today by calling 4423 0351 for more information on these courses.

Courses starting SOON!

Download 2019 Course Brochure

Caddyshack Summer Tour ft. Spin & Win cool Stuff and The Glitter Bar

HARP have FREE chlamydia screening during Summer 2019 in partnership with Kiama Municipal Council at

Kiama South Beach – January 15th & 25th and February 1st, 8th & 15th  

Shellharbour City Council at Shellharbour Beach February 22nd & March 1st

Check out the action here.

The Caddyshack project aims to increase the awareness of Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI) and has been running in partnershipwith the Illawarra Shoalhaven Sexual Health Service since 2013 to engage young people around safe sex

Advocating for your community

Wednesday 6 February, 10.00am AEST

2019 will no doubt be an interesting one in politics and one we want to help you capitalise on!

A key role of government in Australia is to advocate on behalf of their residents for the improvement of services, infrastructure and amenity especially when these resources are the responsibility of the State and Federal Governments or other third-parties.

Hear from from Sid Wynen, Team Leader Engagement, Advocacy and Stakeholder Relations at the City of Casey and Dinuki Scharenguivel, Engagement Manager at Bang the Table, on how the City of Casey conducted its biggest and most successful advocacy campaign, securing $1 billion dollars in the lead up to the November 2018 Victoria State Election.

In this webinar you will learn how to build a strategic approach to developing an advocacy campaign, ways to bring your community to the centre of prioritising issues, strategies for executing a methods based approach to defining priorities, tips to consider when designing a campaign and ways to measure and evaluate your campaigns.

This session is highly recommended for advocacy officers, community engagement practitioners and communications professionals.

First Step Program Bus Tour

Registrations are now open for the First Step Program Bus Tour, Thursday 14th February 2019 from 10.00am till 2.00pm.

The bus tour gives participants an on the ground view of the current situation around drug use and Blood Borne Infection(BBI) transmissions.

It provides an opportunity to dispel myths and “get the real story” on such a hidden, sensitive, and not often talked about area.


09.45am       Meet First Step Program, Port Kembla Hospital, Fairfax Road,   Warrawong.

10.00am       Depart for Hill 60, Port Kembla

10.45am       Warilla Community Health Centre

11.45am       The Wollongong Hospital Automatic Dispensing Machine

12.00             Orana Centre, Wollongong site visit

1.00pm          Darcy House, Port Kembla site visit & lunch

Cost is $15.00 which goes to Darcy House for providing lunch.

Click here to register or Google First Step Program, Bus Tour February 2019. Places are limited.

What other people are saying about the tour:

  • Can I just say WOW!! What an amazing experience!! Thank you for this fantastic bus trip!
  • I liked the way you challenged people’s perception on Methadone use.
  • I find that this style of learning has so many benefits as opposed to the traditional sit in a room watching a PowerPoint presentation learning. It has had a strong impact on my understanding and perspective on the many issues that are faced by clients of the drug and alcohol service.
  • I thought it was very insightful, interesting and valuable for both my future practice as a social worker but also just for my overall knowledge
  • Loved every minute of it! Very informative and a great opportunity to speak with other people working in the field.
  • The First Step Program bus tour was excellent – loved it!

First Step Program is a free and confidential blood borne virus prevention service In the Illawarra and Shoalhaven area. The service provides clean injecting equipment, free condoms as well as support and referrals in all matters of health and welfare including detox and rehabilitation.  First Step Program provide outreach services and education on HIV, Hepatitis A, B and C and waste management of used syringes to individuals and groups.

     A collaborative initiative between First Step Program HARP, & Healthy Cities Illawarra