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The Story So Far
Since the official launch of The Welcome Dinner Project in March 2013, over 200 Welcome Dinners have been held in homes and community spaces across Australia. The project was initially tried and tested in Sydney and quickly became so popular that requests from other capital cities in Australia came flooding in. In 2014-15 The Welcome Dinner Project spread to Perth, Hobart, Launceston, Melbourne, Bendigo, Geelong, Brisbane, Toowoomba, Adelaide, Darwin and Canberra, thanks to the support of our partners and crowd-funders!
We now currently have over 300 trained Welcome Dinner facilitators across Australia and over 5000 people have been able to participate in a Welcome Dinner. Check out our blog for some stories from these dinners! We have also organised dozens of larger Community Welcome Dinners, usually in partnership with a local organisation or council.
A few of our big milestones include:
- The Welcome Dinner Project Exhibition and dinners held in Martin Place in Sydney as part of the 2014 Living in Harmony Festival, with over 2000 people visiting the exhibition and taking part in the activities.
- Australia’s Biggest Welcome Dinner at Marrickville Town Hall as part of the Open Marrickville Festival, involving over 250 newly arrived and established residents connecting over a pot-luck dinner, facilitated by over 40 of our volunteer facilitators and coordinators
- Dozens of TV and media appearances, including a segment on Channel 10’s “The Project” in August 2015, with special guest Matt Preston from Master Chef. The Welcome Dinner Project was also named in “The Age” newspaper as a practical way to respond to the “refugee crisis” – this article went viral on social media and led to a doubling of the number of Welcome Dinner registrations.
In order to keep up with the rapidly increasing demand for Welcome Dinners, we need to grow. We know that if we are truly going to make a broad impact, we need to transition from a Welcome Dinner every few weeks to one every day – right across the nation. But to do that we can’t rely just on volunteers. We need to raise funds and employ staff dedicated to the planning of hundreds of Welcome Dinners. It is a huge job but we know how to do it well and we have all the tools in place to make this a reality! Through our crowdfunding campaigns we have been able to raise money to launch the project nationally and our next phase is to form stronger partnerships in order to make the project sustainable. If you or your organisation would like to collaborate with us, we would love to hear from you.
We are all aware of the many challenges in our society for newly arrived people and the popularity of this project tells us there is endless goodwill out there to create a different kind of story – one that represents the true “fair go” Australia!