The Catholic Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle operates the Development and Relief Activities (DARA), a registered charity that supports vulnerable people in our local community. Underpinning DARA are the Catholic social teaching principles of dignity of the human person and the common good. Our mission is to reach out, support and empower vulnerable people in local communities. DARA aims to meet the immediate needs of those who need our support, and to provide practical assistance to vulnerable people so they have pathways to integration through educational and vocational programs. Collaboration with parishes, CatholicCare, Catholic schools and like-minded organisations is a key to the success of DARA in our support of vulnerable people.
DARA's Food Programs
The Australian Bureau of Statistics says the number of homeless in the Hunter region recorded during the most recent census totalled 1747. There are a range of factors contributing to homelessness including domestic violence, shortages of affordable housing, unemployment, mental illness, alcohol and other drug abuse, and family breakdown.
To help ease the burden of homelessness, DARA Food Programs provide hot, nutritious meals four nights a week across the region. Working in collaboration with other agencies including Orange Sky Laundry, our team of dedicated volunteers provide food, hospitality and friendship to the marginalised in our community. DARA Food Programs are key outreach services that engage directly with people who may require support and assistance, as well as access to information and other services.
DARA Food Programs support more than 150 people each week across six sites: at Islington, Maitland, Nelson Bay, Raymond Terrace, Toronto and Woodberry. The success of DARA Food Programs is contingent on the generous support of local businesses who provide fresh produce, meat and bakery items that our volunteers use to make nutritious meals.
DARA's Refugee Hub
DARA’s Refugee Hub includes a settlement support program, which plays an integral role in the integration of new migrants, refugees and asylum seekers in the Newcastle, Hunter and Manning regions. Working collaboratively with other service providers, Refugee Hub walks with refugees to support and empower them on their journey to independence.
Refugee Hub runs some specialised programs, including English lessons, a Women’s Group, a beach safety workshop, a bike safety program and a soccer program. DARA is also closely linked with CatholicCare’s Multicultural Family Support team, who provide case work support to refugee, asylum seeker and culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) families.
For more information regarding this service please click here.