Ethnic Communities Council

Celebrating our region’s diversity

Established in 1977 as the umbrella body for ethnic communities in our region, the Ethnic Communities Council Newcastle and Hunter Region (ECC) has grown to become a major provider of health and wellbeing programs as well as social and community development initiatives to a broad cross-section of the community.

The ECC consists of more than 70 community group members, a majority of which are representative of the established and emerging culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities in this region. The ECC premises in Waratah is well utilised as a preferred site for community and inter-agency meetings, cultural celebrations and events for the various ethnic communities and a multicultural aged day care program. The site also accommodates office space for staff, a multicultural library, auditorium and small industrial kitchen. Plans are underway for a multicultural Men’s Shed and ethnic community garden.

Funded by the state and federal governments, this not-for-profit organisation delivers a variety of services to the aged and people with disabilities from ethnic communities in this region.

These include aged care services, respite day care centres, transport, social support and multicultural friendship groups.

The ECC manages ten ethno-specific and multicultural aged day care centres across Newcastle, Port Stephens and the Hunter Region. These centres help maintain frail aged, as well as younger people with disabilities and their carers to remain independent and at home for as long as possible. While there is a particular focus on people from CALD backgrounds, clients from all sections of the community are welcome to participate in social activities and enjoy peer and staff support.

Social support is provided through group outings, home visits, transport to appointments, and assistance with shopping, banking etc. These supports help to decrease isolation and loneliness as well as informing participants of other community services available in their area.

The ECC also offers a multicultural library and a Broadband for Seniors internet kiosk at their centre at Platt St, Waratah. The Waratah Multicultural Library offers a range of multilingual, multicultural and interfaith resources and is open from Tuesday to Friday from 10am to 4.30pm. Its catalogue can be viewed online.

Bookings are suggested for the new internet kiosk, which is part of the Australian government’s Broadband for Seniors initiative. The kiosk offers the opportunity for older people to discover how the web can play a great part in helping them to stay in touch with friends and family, along with offering access to the wealth of information available online.

Volunteers are always welcome to assist in all aspects of the ECC’s community development and aged support programs, depending on their skills and interests. “We are always delighted when new people volunteer,” says Day Centre Coordinator Mary Moore, “because the need for more volunteers is increasing as the number of older persons needing practical support and social opportunities also increases.”

To find out more about volunteering with the ECC, see their website for details or contact Aged Care Services Manager Milan Kurjakovic on 4960 8248.

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