Centacare FNQ is the Social Services agency of the Catholic Diocese of Cairns. We have been providing services in the Cairns and Far North Queensland region to children and their families and working actively in the Multicultural sector for 30 years.
Since 2018, Centacare FNQ has been facilitating the Our Place project; an assets based, community driven project. The project, based in Cairns West, has enabled the creation of spaces and opportunities for communities from diverse backgrounds to have conversations, create connections, build relationships and grow social initiatives.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, the Our Place project team had to adapt to an online environment and the Our Place #wearecairnswest Facebook page became a vital platform for community messaging. Importantly, Centacare Bi-cultural workers were able to share messages in language (Swahili, Kinyarwandan, Burmese and Nepali) providing vital information about the virus, the changing, and at times confusing, regulations in addition to ways to stay safe.
In addition to providing a place to sharing information about the covid-19 pandemic, the Our Place Facebook page also became a platform to share community announcements as well as a place to connect and celebrate events including Refugee Week. The team continue to engage with communities with Centacare’s ongoing community projects and groups including the Multicultural Fashion Extravaganza, Musical Cohesion and Dynamic Young Leaders program. Through our partnership with Marc Harbrow from Harbrow Mentoring and a local Yirriganydji Saltwater man, we had an opportunity to share online indigenous cultural tours which showcased local Indigenous knowledge and culture.
Overall, the Our Place team were able to achieve an incredible level of community reach and engagement, with over 13,000 people interacting with posts throughout March & April 2020. Importantly, the Our Place project was able to support Centacare Multicultural teams in messaging around COVID-19 and the shifting messages which to date has ensured zero covid-19 cases across the refugee communities.