REFUGEE WEEK: L-r: Jane Healy, Kerry Bower, Sue Kelly from Ballina Region for Refugees and Leandro Mendes from St Vincent De Paul in Lismore.
REFUGEE WEEK: L-r: Jane Healy, Kerry Bower, Sue Kelly from Ballina Region for Refugees and Leandro Mendes from St Vincent De Paul in Lismore. Christian Morrow

North Coast support for refugees

AROUND 100 people attended Saturday night's World Refugee Day Celebration at Ballina Library to see Mayor David Wright sign a Welcome Refugee Zone Declaration.

A similar declaration was made at last week's meeting of Byron Shire Council.

On hand were refugee advocates Jane Healy and Kerry Bower, partner of Gosford Anglican priest Father Rod Bower, well known for his roadside signs critical of the current government's human rights record.

Several refugees were also on hand to share their stories. Those attending were keen to hear how they could offer practical help to refugees.

"People in Ballina can best help by offering home stays for refugees currently living in the cities so they can get a break from the often grim conditions they live under," said Ms Healy.

At the ceremony held in Byron Council Chambers Mayor Simon Richardson said, "The declaration is a commitment in spirit to welcoming refugees into our community, upholding the Human Rights of refugees, demonstrating compassion for refugees and enhancing cultural and religious diversity in our community."

Mayor Simon Richardson also thanked Cr Paul Spooner for bringing the matter before council and urged all within the community to think how we can support refugees further.

"Our region is fortunate in that we have Sanctuary Northern Rivers and Mullum Loves Refugees who provide on-the-ground assistance."To offer help call Jane Healy on 0487891487 or Mullum Loves Refugees: www.facebook. com/mullumbimby lovesrefugees.


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