Ballina Region for Refugees financial members have been invited to a Special General Meeting on June 15 to vote on a proposed new name for the organisation.

The proposed new name is Northern Rivers for Refugees. The meeting will be held at Tintenbar Hall, starting at 1.30pm.

If you are not a current member and would like a voice in this decision, please go to the BR4R website to join or renew your membership:

Why the need for a new name?

The proposed name reflects the expansion of our activities from our beginnings in Ballina into Byron, Tweed and Lismore local government areas. It also reflects our new status as a CRISP Supporting Community Organisation.

In this role we promote the CRISP settlement program across the Northern Rivers in collaboration with the Tweed and Lismore groups, who support our proposed new name.

Ballina Region for Refugees has a long record of welcoming refugees and asylum seekers into our homes and raising funds to support refugees and asylum seekers struggling to settle in Australia.

The work began in 2015 when Sue Kelly put her concern into action by placing an advertisement in the Ballina paper to call a meeting of like-minded citizens. A large group of locals responded, and Ballina Region for Refugees was formed.

In 2021 Ruth Henderson and Stanley Yeo led our participation in a national pilot initiated by the Federal Government and Community Refugee Sponsorship Australia, a non-government organisation.

The Community Refugee Integration and Settlement Pilot (CRISP) was designed along the lines of the Canadian model where refugees were welcomed and supported by a small group of community members for the first 12 months.

CRISP became operational in August 2022 when the first household arrived in Australia and was supported by the Ocean Shores community supporter group. Isabelle Borelli was a member of that community supporter group and is now our Vice President.

Ballina Region for Refugees has supported four community supporter groups to settle four refugee households; two in Ballina and two in Ocean Shores. No other region in Australia has settled four refugee households.

In our recent April Bulletin, you were introduced to the fifth community support group that Ballina Region for Refugees is supporting: Mullumbimby Refugee Supporter Group (MRSG).

In 2023 CRISP invited businesses, churches and community groups such as BR4R to become a CRISP Supporting Community Organisation. In this role we promote CRISP across the Northern Rivers in collaboration with Tweed Welcomes Refugees and Lismore Region Refugee Settlement (CRISP affiliated community supporter groups) and continue to raise funds to support local groups to welcome and support refugee households into our region.