By Laura Michell
Whittlesea council has pledged to help refugee and migrant communities during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Council administrator Lydia Wilson recently signed a Welcoming Australia and Democracy in Colour declaration which commits the council to ensuring that nobody is left behind during the pandemic, particularly migrant communities.
The council has also contributed $50,000 to Whittlesea Community Connections from its COVID-19 community relief fund to help the organisation provide support to vulnerable people living in the community.
Syrian refugee Norma Medawar, who works at Whittlesea Community Connections, said the donation was making a “huge difference”.
“The crisis started suddenly so the funding helped us kick off the start of buying frozen meals and dry goods to provide to people in need,” Ms Medawar said.
“We’re working with the Whittlesea Food Collective, packing food for people in need. The volunteers feel good about helping other people and they feel good about themselves because they’re doing something, they feel connected.”
The council has also partnered with Eastern Melbourne Primary Health Network to offer refugees and other vulnerable communities in Whittlesea a free flu immunisation.
Under the partnership, which was announced during the council’s Refugee Week celebrations earlier this month, a mobile influenza immunisation service will travel around Whittlesea targeting poor immunisation rates among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, refugees, asylum seekers and culturally and linguistically diverse communities.
The $40,000 service has been funded by the health network.