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i see


…a welcoming space where people can come together to socialise, eat and get support if they need it. It’s a great community.


OUR VOLUNTEERS


WHEN RILEY STARTED VOLUNTEERING AT HOPE’S CAFÉ, HE HAD NO EXPERIENCE WORKING WITH REFUGEES.


Eighteen months later, Riley, along with a team of other volunteers, spends every Friday at the café, helping people navigate the complexities of the immigration process.


Now in his third year studying law at the University of Adelaide, Riley heard about the initiative through a lecturer at university.


“I had no experience working with refugees before I started volunteering there,” he says. “It’s an issue that I’d been interested in and I had a vague idea about what was happening with refugees, but no idea how it affects people at an individual level – the countless niggling ways that the system can be very challenging.”


Riley’s work includes helping people fill out forms or make phone calls to the Department of Immigration, and


researching particular issues around immigration.


“Over time, the work has changed from being very focused on helping people prepare for visa applications, to helping with a whole range of different issues,” he says.





support for people who have recently arrived in Australia.


Riley says that, along with valuable skills and experience, volunteering at the café has given him a wonderful sense of community.


I was recently chatting with someone who’d applied for a scholarship to the University of Adelaide for people with bridging visas,” he says. “He wanted to study medicine as that’s what he had been studying in Iran, so we had a chat about pathways into medicine, and I arranged for him to talk with a friend who had studied it.”


A collaboration between Uniting Communities and Clayton Wesley Uniting Church, Hope’s Cafe offers appetising meals on a ‘pay what you can afford’ basis, in addition to English classes and other


Uniting Communities Annual Report 2016 | 19


“I think volunteering has given me skills and experience that will be useful in future – definitely in terms of problem-solving and drawing on resources that are relevant and useful to people in need,” he says.


“And I love the sense of community at Hope’s Café. It’s a really lovely space and I’ve met a lot of people – it’s a really nice place to be.”


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