ICE gets creative with a new community hub

THE tough and often dangerous journey for refugees fleeing their war-torn or poverty-stricken countries doesn't end when they arrive here.

For many refugees and new migrants, learning how to speak English, finding accommodation and a stable job as well as integrating into the community is another battle.

To help our newest members, the Information and Cultural Exchange, or ICE, in Parramatta will open a community hub as part of the National Community Hubs Pilot Program.

This involves a partnership between the federal government, the Migration Council Australia and the Scanlon Foundation with the Refuge of Hope to help migrants and refugees connect with government services, become self-reliant and settled.

Hub co-ordinator at ICE, Eddie Abd, said there were many benefits for families participating in the year-long program.

"The Community Hub helps newly-arrived families to get access with the services and to connect with each other and also breaking the isolation especially when you're a newly arrived migrant or refugee with children under five," Ms Abd said.

"It also gets families to connect with each other. The other important part of the program is it gives them the ability to share their stories with the wider community."

The hub will give families access to facilities and artistic experts so they can produce a range of art with a digital focus.

Ms Abd said the hub could also help new migrants or refugees learn skills which they could use to find jobs.

"They could become bilingual storytellers in libraries or other educational institutions," she said.

ICE is also looking for western Sydney artists who are building their own arts-based businesses to join their Creative Hub program.

Applications for the Creative Hub close on Friday.

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