An Incredible and Rewarding Journey Reaches Its End

A group of volunteers, employees and community partners will be reflecting on an incredible  journey when they gather at the William Farah Hotel on Thursday 26 October. At the end of the month the Humanitarian Settlement Service (HSS) program in the Riverina will cease.

In partnership with the Multicultural Council Wagga Wagga, the St Vincent de Paul Society NSW has been delivering this service for the past 12 years. The Federal Government-funded HSS program comes to an end on 31 October and is being replaced by a Humanitarian SettlementService Program (HSP) that will be overseen by Red Cross Australia.

Jenni Duff, Wagga Wagga Central Council President, explains: “As the HSS program comes to an end we want to acknowledge our partnership with the Multicultural Council Wagga Wagga. Without them the program would not have been so successful. 

“I would also like to give a big personal thank you to its true heroes – the 400 plus Vinnies volunteers who have tirelessly given up their free time to make sure those people coming to settle in the Riverina were given the warmest welcome, support and friendship.”

Deirdre Moulden, the Society’s HSS Manager, says: “It has been wonderful to work with so many great and dedicated people; I will treasure the lifelong friendships I have made.” 

Between October 2005 and September 2017 the HSS program assisted 484 families – 1694 individuals – in the Riverina. Businesses in Griffith, Leeton, Albury/Wodonga and Wagga have benefitted from the program with $2.5 million injected into the local economy through the purchase of basic household goods.

Ms Moulden was especially proud that one of the first people to arrive in Albury from Bhutan in October 2008 was nominated as Wodonga Citizen of the Year 2017.

“So many of our families have come to make the Riverina their home. They have purchased homes, gone to university and are working in meaningful employment,” says Ms Moulden.

Jack de Groot, CEO St Vincent de Paul Society NSW, noted how the cultural landscape of the Riverina had been changed and enriched by the new arrivals from 21 countries in Africa, Asia, Indian sub-continent, Middle East and Pacific Islands.

“On behalf of the Society and from the bottom of my heart I want to thank and acknowledge everyone who has been involved with the HSS program – our partners, volunteers, staff, and the people who have settled in the Riverina. It has been an incredible and rewarding journey,” says Mr de Groot.