What are Refugee Support Services?

The 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees defines a refugee as any person who owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his/her nationality and is unable, or owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself/herself of the protection of that country. Australia is a signatory to this convention and therefore, under international law is obliged to offer protection to people found to be refugees. 

People seeking safe refuge in a new place can be at risk of homelessness, living in substandard accommodation or experiencing homelessness. The majority are not eligible for Centrelink and are living without income, relying on charity and communities for basic necessities. Our Refugee Support Service (RSS) aims to work together with asylum seekers and refugees who are living in NSW and experiencing severe financial hardship and social isolation. We do this through referral and advocacy on behalf of our clients, employment support for those who have work rights, listening and case work, and recreational and educational activities. We provide some material and financial assistance through the Vinnies Asylum Seeker Allowance and in partnership with Bicycle Garden and City of Sydney we are providing bicycles as a means of more affordable transport in the Pedal Power program. There are other services available including: educational and employment support, short term accommodation, and access to torture and trauma counselling.

Who can access this service?

If you are currently seeking asylum you are welcome to contact us. We accept referrals from other services, hospitals, community members and self-referrals. Some of our programs are available to RSS clients only, while others are available to the broader asylum seeker and refugee community.

Where is the service located?

Our team is based in Surry Hills, though anyone who is an asylum seeker and living in NSW may be eligible for our assistance. The service is also linked to an array of other services in the Sydney area.

Who benefits from Refugee Support services?

Our services help support refugee and asylum seeker members in our community experiencing financial difficulties, homelessness or at risk of homelessness. The services supports those who may have been affected by torture or trauma, separated from family members, lived through the detention system, learning English,  loss of income and other common and difficult resettlement challenges.

Can I volunteer for this service?

We welcome volunteers and from time to time have opportunities available, especially in our Pedal Power program and in internship programs. These opportunities are advertised through the relevant networks when positions are available.  

How can I find out more?

For more information contact the Refugee Support Services Team.

Phone: (02) 8093 6724 or (02) 8093 6719

Email: refugee.services@vinnies.org.au