A new home for the Welcoming Centre

Dear Supporters and Friends of the Welcoming Centre,

We have some important news to share with you.

Last year, Welcoming Australia celebrated ten years of cultivating a culture of welcome and building a future where everyone has equal opportunity to belong, contribute and thrive. Since its launch in 2013, the Welcoming Centre, has been a central part of our journey.

The Welcoming Centre was born in response to the needs of young people seeking asylum who were being released from community detention. Having sought safety in Australia, unaccompanied by parents or family support, the Centre offered practical help and material aid, social connection, community dinners, volunteering opportunities, and conversational English. More than that, it quickly became a place of belonging amongst people who believed in their value, potential and common humanity.

The Welcoming Centre continues to provide practical support, financial assistance and social English while expanding its offering and reach to include:

• a community garden;
• financial resilience workshops;
• nurse practitioner clinic;
• Adult Community Education and pathways to employment opportunities;
• storytelling and cultural engagement at the Adelaide Fringe Festival; and,
• a hub for recently arrived migrants and refugees to access advice and key services.

As we imagine what the next ten years of welcoming could inspire, we recognise that some things will change. Some of that change is beyond our control and, for the Welcoming Centre, this includes finding a new home.

For the past eight years, through the generosity of countless supporters and partners, we’ve been able to call 100 Drayton Street, Bowden: home. However, the building is about to be listed for sale and our existing lease expires at the end of this year. While change is difficult, it also brings opportunity.

Ultimately, the Centre seeks to model and encourage an Australia that embraces diversity and shared values — where people of all backgrounds have equal opportunity to belong, contribute and thrive. Relocating offers us an opportunity to increase our reach and impact, strengthen partnerships and explore leading ways of working together.

Place is important. We share this news with a sense of gratitude but also sadness at the prospect of leaving 100 Drayton Street behind. While we will be saying farewell to a building that has been pivotal in the lives of many people, we’re not saying goodbye to what we’ve achieved and the friends we’ve made. There are many memories that we will take with us. Memories of lives changed for the better – both the established community and new neighbours.

The Welcoming Centre will continue to create a safe, supportive, and welcoming space for refugee families, people seeking asylum, recently arrived migrants, and the local community across greater Adelaide. The question we are striving to answer is ‘where should that space be?’

The search has begun. We’re currently mapping existing services, looking at growth areas and reaching out to potential partners. Our hope and intention are to identify a new home for the Welcoming Centre, somewhere in greater Adelaide, well before December 2022.

We will continue to provide updates, and we invite you to join us on the next step of the journey.

With thanks and warm regards,

Aleem Ali

CEO, Welcoming Australia

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