Surviving & Thriving

I think we all assumed that after two tough years, the COVID-19 pandemic would finally be over, and we would be able to return to normal. Instead, in late 2021, Blacktown LGA was one of 12 across NSW that faced even tougher lockdowns as the pandemic ripped through our communities. MECA’s staff did a wonderful job, working from home but still supporting our community and ensuring that the most vulnerable had access to much-needed support and assistance for at-risk, isolated, and locked-down members of our community. We finally came out of lockdown and into business as usual, and I am pleased to say that MECA seems to be going from strength to strength and finally not only surviving but now thriving.

We finally came out of lockdown and into business as usual, and I am pleased to say that MECA seems to be going from strength to strength

Making an Impact

We remain grateful to our past staff member and long-term supporter of MECA, Deborah Hatzi, whose considerable donations were used to support our Kilos of Hope Project delivering food hampers, supplies and COVID-19 translated information to those most in need. Thanks also to Foodbank – our membership has assisted us in purchasing food & essential items for a discounted value. We are also very proud of Yura Bada, a joint project with Kallico Catering led by the amazing Nene Brown, MECA Management Committee Member, to deliver meals to those in isolation. In September 2021 alone, more than 11,000 meals were delivered! This Kallico-MECA initiative has secured significant community donations and financial support from Blacktown Council. We look forward to the next stage of this partnership and the development of a food security program for our community in Mount Druitt.

MECA was very grateful to receive a $5,000 funding grant from Multicultural NSWs COVID-19 Community Support Grants and further grants from Multicultural NSW of $10,000 through 2021/2022 Empowering and Supporting Local Communities Program; a further $13,568 in Empowering and Supporting Local Communities Program Round 2 & an Emergency Relief Support Grant 2022 of $49,411. We were also very grateful to receive $11,725 from the Department of Communities & Justice for COVID partnership grants issued to services in the 12 LGAs affected by stringent lockdowns. MECA used all this funding to provide a range of supports, assistance and supplies to our community.

New Initiatives

MECA has had a wonderfully successful year in terms of securing funding for some of our new initiatives, apart from COVID-19 projects. We remain grateful for our ongoing funding through the Department of Communities & Justice (DCJ) for our youth programs and from the Settlement Consortium led by SSI for settlement services, which is now confirmed for June 2024. However, MECA has also secured additional funding from the Settlements Consortium for a Domestic & Family Violence project which is being developed in partnership with the Women’s Activities & Self-Help House in Mount Druitt. We received an additional grant of $7,000 through the DCJ Sector Support and Transformation Fund, which will enable us to extend and expand our digital and online approach. We also received a grant of $9,000 from The Honig Foundation to support our community capacity-building project, “Building Resilient Leaders.”
It was also very exciting for MECA to learn that we have been successful in securing two rather significant grants. One through the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources Safer Communities Funding – Early Intervention Grant of $535,685 to support young people at risk of disengagement from school over two years in partnership with Western Sydney University, TAFE NSW, Global Skills and Headspace. And the other through Multicultural NSW’s COMPACT Program for $200,000 over two years for the Mount Druitt Youth for Peace and Understanding Project.

MECA also launched our Culture Graze initiative in September 2021, which we hope to develop into a social enterprise opportunity for our clients and community. Watch this space!

In other exciting news, we were so excited that one of our former staff members, Emma Smith, was voted Westfield Mt Druitt Local Hero of the Year! This is a great recognition of Emma’s work for the community, and we are so grateful for the support of Westfield and the $10,000 that MECA received as a result. Well done, Emma!
We also said goodbye in August 2021 to our long-term manager Amie Hope. Amie came to MECA when we were struggling to stabilise and find our way, and it was due to Amie’s passion, commitment, and skills that we have set MECA on a fabulously forward-looking path. I just want to acknowledge Amie and all she did for MECA in her time with us. But that also meant that we have been able to appoint Daniel Gobena as the manager of MECA formally. After acting in the role for two years, Daniel was appointed following an external recruitment process. We are very lucky to have Daniel, with his passion and ability to see opportunities and partnerships that have enabled MECA to expand into exciting new areas.


I want to thank our wonderful staff, who deserve recognition for continuing to deliver much-needed services and programs during a very challenging time. Thank you so much to Yousef, Raeanne, Fadi, Neha, Farhana Emma, Adjoa, Mene, and Kamia. We also have a new staff member, Lynelle, who has taken on our bookkeeping.
I would also like to acknowledge the commitment and passion of our Management Committee – Garry, Farabi, Abbas, Ammar, Carly, Nene, and Bob. Thank you all for what you do to support MECA.
I would also like to acknowledge the commitment and passion of our Management Committee – Garry, Farabi, Abbas, Ammar, Carly, Nene and Bob, who joined the committee in May 2021. Thank you all for your time and your energy in supporting MECA.

And last but not least, I thank all our wonderful volunteers and students. MECA would not be able to function as well as we do without your support. Thank you to everyone – our staff, management committee members, clients, members of our community and partners, volunteers, and students – who enable MECA to thrive!