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Bello Nambucca RAR Newsletter 7th January 2020

Welcome back, on a sombre note
Market calendar for 2020
First roadside demonstration of 2020: Bellingen, 16th January, 2.30 to 4.00 pm
A thank you letter from the ASC
Campaigning in 2020

Welcome back, on a sombre note

As the New Year gets under way, many parts of New South Wales and Victoria are in flames. It is so sad to learn about the tragic loss of life, and to witness the scenes of the destruction of communities, the loss of homes and infrastructure, and the death of livestock and wildlife. Our brave firefighters, who include a number of our regular supporters, must be exhausted, and the devastation is by no means over yet. We can only hope that the belated actions of our government will finally deliver the level of support that the firefighters, the support services and the communities need to battle the fires and to rebuild the homes and communities that have been destroyed.

Market calendar for 2020
You might want to put the dates for our 2020 markets in your diaries. Note that the Bellingen and Valla Beach markets take place on a Saturday, and the Coffs Harbourside markets are held on Sundays. At this point, the dates for the Coffs Harbourside markets are provisional.
January 18th: Bellingen
February 1st: Valla Beach
March 8th: Coffs Harbour
March 21st: Bellingen
April 4th: Valla Beach
April 26th: Coffs Harbour
May 16th: Bellingen
June 6th: Valla Beach
July 18th: Bellingen
August 1st: Valla Beach
August 23rd: Coffs Harbour
September 19th: Bellingen
October 3rd: Valla Beach
November 1st: Coffs Harbour
November 21st: Bellingen
December 5th: Valla Beach
If you can help out at the Bellingen market on 18th January for an hour or two between 9.00 am and 1.30 pm, then please let Mike know by emailing him at: We have been allocated site C33.

First roadside demonstration of 2020: Bellingen, 16th January,
2.30 to 4.00 pm
Our first roadside demonstration of the year will take place on Thursday 16th January on Waterfall Way, Bellingen, from 2.30 to 4.00 pm. You will find us at our usual spot adjacent to the Yellow Shed, near the entrance to the golf club. Please come and join us if you can, and help us to remind people that the suffering of refugees and asylum seekers in offshore detention continues unabated. We have lots of banners and placards to share, and it would be wonderful to welcome some new supporters to these events.

A thank you letter from the ASC
In recent days, we were delighted to receive this formal letter of thanks from the Asylum Seekers Centre, in recognition of our fundraising success:
Thank you from the Asylum Seekers Centre
On behalf of the Asylum Seekers Centre, I would like to thank everyone involved with the Rural Australians for Refugees Bellingen and Nambucca Districts for your tremendous work supporting our centre. Your advocacy and fundraising efforts have made a profound difference in the lives of people seeking asylum. In the past few years, you have raised more than $20,000 for the Asylum Seekers Centre. In 2019 alone, you contributed an amazing $12,200. These funds were quickly put to good use and helped us provide a variety of services to more than 4,000 people seeking asylum. It costs $50 to provide someone with a complete set of work safety equipment, $150 for three months of travel to employment, $500 for a month of childcare and $1000 for a new pre-employment workshop. The funds you have raised have helped many families access employment opportunities as well as food, emergency accommodation and health services. Thank you for opening your hearts to people seeking asylum in Australia. Members of Rural Australians for Refugees Bellingen and Nambucca Districts should be proud of what you have contributed in recent years. You have made our community a kinder, safer and more inclusive place. The Asylum Seekers Centre is proud to be a partner and beneficiary of RAR Bellingen and Nambucca and looks forward to further collaboration in 2020. 
Jaclyn Dunn, Community Engagement Coordinator 

Please look out for details of fundraising events that we hope will take shape in the weeks ahead. In the meantime, if anybody out there has a fundraising proposal that they would be happy to lead on, with help from our hardworking team, then please let us know. What about a garage sale, that supporters could contribute to? All ideas are welcome and will be considered.

Campaigning in 2020

In addition to our market stalls and roadside demonstrations, we intend to continue our campaigning for justice and humanity for refugees and asylum seekers in offshore detention or in Australia awaiting the outcome of their protection claims. We plan to have a new open letter for our market in Bellingen on 18th January, and we hope to update you on the situation in PNG and Nauru as information emerges in the weeks ahead. In particular, we will need to keep up the pressure on politicians to finally agree to the offer of the New Zealand government to take 150 refugees each year from Nauru and PNG. We also need to engage with our local Federal MP to seek to persuade him that the New Zealand offer presents no threat to our border security.

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