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Continuing support for multicultural and multi-faith community organisations

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Maria Smith
Maria Smith is the Chairperson of the Australian Filipino Community Services, a non-profit organisation based in Victoria.

With a fourth round of grants to contribute to the social and economic recovery from the pandemic, the Victorian Government is continuing support for multicultural and multi-faith community organisations that provide essential services across Victoria, particularly for our vulnerable members.

An additional $3.5 million will be allocated to these community organisations through the Priority Response to Multicultural Community program, Minister for Multicultural Affairs Ros Spence announced on March 4, to help reduce social isolation and improve access to health and mental health services for culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) community members.

The Australian-Filipino Community Services (AFCS) has been fortunate and certainly grateful as one of the recipients of previous grant rounds that ensured vulnerable members of the Filipino-Australian community were availed essential services at the height of the pandemic. These include free shopping deliveries due to physical distancing restrictions, distribution of basic and emergency food items particularly to those who lost employment, hungry, homeless, or more seriously, afflicted by the virus, including international students who also needed significant financial and wellbeing support.

The AFCS has also resumed parts of its social services encouraging seniors to age actively through digital literacy, regular exercises, dancing, gardening, fishing, playing sports like golf and basketball, simple get-together outings, daily Bible readings and group (online) praying, group singing such as the most recent and successful AFCS Virtual Love Concert.

Multicultural Arts Victoria’s Duniya Behter program is another example of a community organisation benefiting from the multicultural grant. The program caters to women from multicultural backgrounds in Bendigo and Shepparton to build creative small businesses while sharing their rich culture.

Applications for the funding are open until April 10. Funding has been allocated for services, including delivering emergency food relief, transport to vaccination appointments, digital literacy, training and mentoring, community-led health communications, and other community support.

Indeed, Victorian community organisations have been fortunate with the generous Andrews Labor Government with Multicultural Affairs Minister Spence reiterating: “Victoria’s multicultural communities have remained strong throughout the pandemic, and we are ensuring they receive the help they need as the State recovers.” On this note, the AFCS will remain committed to providing proactive essential services, particularly to those in need.


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Maria Smith
Maria Smith is the Chairperson of the Australian Filipino Community Services, a non-profit organisation based in Victoria.

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