Our drop-in centre currently operates in the Melbourne CBD and is open to all refugees and asylum seekers. It is opened 7 days a week from 9 am to 6 pm. Currently there are over 400 asylum seekers and refugees who access RISE services each week, with around 2000 registered members within the organisation.
Within Melbourne, Australia, there are few places which offer a safe haven for asylum seekers and refugees to build a social network while gaining confidence and support. The RISE Drop-In Centre (which is currently operational) located in the Melbourne CBD, is a welcoming place that promotes inclusion, growth and on-going support. Open from 9am to 6pm, 7 days a week with free refreshments and snacks, the Drop-In Centre includes: a library that is filled with various resources exploring multiculturalism, English-language learning and other settlement support resources; a computer lab that can be used by any member to complete assignments, browse the Internet, check their emails or fill online forms etc; a food bank that provides free food (both fresh produce and non-perishable items) to those who need it; the Drop-In Centre hosts our biweekly resume clinic and also doubles as a referral hub where members can access information about various crisis support services.
The RISE Drop-In Centre for both youth and adults in the community provides social opportunities for newly arrived refugees and asylum seekers to meet and create social support networks through our Drop-In Centre programming. This programming includes: arts activities (such as music, drama and visual arts) which focus on broad themes allowing participants the opportunity to explore creative outlets (such as poetry and creative writing) as well as to celebrate and share their cultures. In addition, the participants will share a residential workshop, or if this is not possible, an end-of-workshop gathering.
Participants can work towards achieving Young People’s Arts Awards and will be involved in public performances and exhibitions. These activities will showcase their work, improve their self-confidence, and celebrate their achievements. Some participants in our music & arts programming delivered through the Drop-In Centre will go on to develop skills as facilitators and workshop leaders.
The social networks created in the Drop-In Centre are a key aspect of the space. The Drop-In Centre aims to increase cultural awareness and provide opportunities for social interaction between and among our members, who hail from various cultural and religious backgrounds. The Drop-In Centre may provide food and a place to play games and meet people, but more importantly, it serves as a safe-haven for our community members to be themselves and to interact with a diverse cross-section of the refugee and asylum seeker communities. The social and familial element here is as important as the arts and educational activities we aim to provide. It creates a sense of belonging and participation in a larger community, reducing isolation.
The Drop-In Centre currently provides the following free services to our members. It is our aim to continue offering these much needed resources to our communities: