Members of MRSG, the new Mullumbimby refugee support group which is hoping to host a family soon.

A new Community Support Group (CSG) has formed in Mullumbimby to help settle a refugee family in the area.

Mullumbimby Refugee Support Group (MRSG) hopes to welcome a Syrian family within the next few months. They would become the seventh family to be settled in the area under the Federal Government’s Community Refugee Integration and Settlement Pilot (CRISP) program.

The MRSG coordinator, Delhove Blennerhassett, said his group formed from a desire to do something practical about the plight of refugees.

“My interest was piqued when I attended a Sanctuary Northern Rivers information evening and I met members of the Lismore support group. I brought the idea back here to our home church and we’ve now got 16 people committed to our support group.

“This area has such a great awareness and we loved the idea of the community getting together to help a refugee family in need,” Delhove said.

MRSG members have sent their group profile to CRISP and completed individual and group online training and workshops.

They hope to select a family by mid-April and welcome them in May. They decided to opt for a Syrian family because of existing Syrian refugees in the area.

MRSG is well aware of the year-long commitment required to fund and settle refugees.

“We couldn’t have done it without signing a partnership agreement with BR4R, who will take on the lion’s share of fundraising,” Delhove said.

“A big challenge in this area is finding affordable and available accommodation. And then transport is so important.”

The group is also keen to hear from any prospective employers, particularly in construction, hospitality and the care industries.

The youngest member of the MRSG group is Zachary Blennerhassett, 17, who looks forward to the challenge despite dealing with his HSC year.

“It’s such a great opportunity to help somebody, make them feel safe.” Zachary said.

“Refugees are doing it tough and if we can help make the program work, we can maybe change the system. It feels real, and it’s reminded me to be more outward looking in my life.”

To learn more about the CRISP sponsorship scheme visit their website.

To find out how you can help Ballina Region For Refugees, contact President Marilyn Leeks 0407 219 898, or send an email.

The MRSG contact is Delhove Blennerhassett on 0434 007 276