Dear SCARF supporters,
After the recent turbulence felt by SCARF and indeed, the whole community, we are looking forward to growth and renewal in the coming months.
SCARF has always operated on a shoestring budget. When in March we saw core income streams drying up almost overnight, we had to move quickly to save on costs. Staff hours were reduced and instead of signing the lease on a new office space we made a temporary shift to remote working. Though these decisions were difficult, they were made to ensure SCARF’s survival and with the commitment front and centre to maintain support for people from refugee backgrounds and to help them stay connected through this crisis and beyond.
As ever in times of adversity, innovation and ingenuity flourished. Bringing people together face to face was for now out of the question and some of our programs found new lifeforms. The immediate needs of community members were met with a digital device drive. Many spread the word and donated devices that we delivered to more than 30 families. SCARF befrienders and homework tutors found new ways to connect with the community members they support, and our young leaders turned to Facebook to maintain connections and generate ideas for what might come next. Urgent needs for toilet paper and other essentials were met by volunteers undertaking careful contactless drop-offs.
The support we received from our volunteers was unwavering. I am so grateful for the countless emails, calls and texts I have received from those expressing their love of SCARF and ongoing willingness assist in whatever way they can.
We were fortunate to qualify for the JobKeeper package, which provided a lifeline that means all of our pre-COVID staff members are now working again in some capacity. This initiative will help sustain us for the coming months as we explore what the support we provide to community members will look for the remainder of 2020 and beyond.
As government restrictions are starting to lift it feels good to be able to reach out with some good news. Last week was Volunteer Week and we celebrated the dedication, resilience and compassion of our volunteers on social media. Refugee Week is coming up in June. This year’s theme ‘Welcome’ sits at the core of what SCARF is about, and we are looking forward to participating in local and national virtual celebrations.
Please note, SCARF is no longer operating out of The Community Gateway Hub, 26 Atchison Street, Wollongong, however we continue to provide support to the local community.
For the time being, SCARF volunteers and staff will be providing services remotely. We are still available Monday – Friday, 10am – 4pm. Watch this space for news on new premises later in the year.
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