Members of Leichardt Uniting Church were among those celebrating at the New Beginnings Festival as part of the Inner West Councils’ Open Inner West Festival on Sunday, 24 June.
Located in Rozelle’s Callan Park, the centre provides refugees in the inner west with a single location to access day support services.
Funding for the centre comes from the “Archbishop Anthony Fisher Syrian Refugee Appeal”, raised across the Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney.
The welcome centre had been the subject of a long dispute over the use of Callan Park, a site that was previously a mental asylum and the site for Roseville Hospital.
The proposal to open the centre stalled amidst pressure from anti-development groups, and far right protesters who disrupted a Leichardt council meeting. In December 2015, however, the Council approved a plan for the centre and the centre opened in June 2016.
Leichardt Uniting Church member and Sydney Alliance activist David Barrow told Insights that the church was part of a lobbying effort to see the centre open.
“It’s very pleasing to see Council succeed in opening this centre, with the support of the Sydney Alliance,” Mr Barrow said.
“People from the church are looking forward to volunteering.”
St Columbas Leichhardt and Settlement Services International were also represented at the celebration.
— Migration Institute (@migrateinst) December 9, 2015
Jonathan Foye is Insights’ Editor