Cultura Connect: November 2022

A word from our CEO

Dear friends,


Can you believe it is November already? Where has the year gone? Since our last edition, Cultura has been a hive of activity with some fantastic initiatives and events taking place:

  • The opening of a new convenience shop at our designer Bella Chara facility.
  • Celebration of the Spring Racing Carnival across the organisation and in particular, Oaks Day with a visit from Beau – the horse in our residential facility. The residents really look forward to this day and enjoy the interaction with Beau as much as he enjoys all the carrots he gets.
  • Hosting of some lively local election debates on the Pulse 94.7 community radio station.
  • Formal notification received from Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) that Cultura Training can now commence. This will occur in early 2023.

We have also been busy holding our statutory Annual General Meetings for Cultura, Diversitat and MACS and we are looking forward to holding our first Cultura Annual Public Meeting at the Healthy Living Centre on 17 November at 7pm.

Cultura is overseen by a voluntary board of Directors. Whilst the merger still continues, we are required to have all three boards still operational. The following appointments were made:

Multicultural Community Services Geelong Inc t/a Cultura

Chair: John Hrkac

Deputy Chair: Gillian Costa

Treasurer: Deanne Firth

Geelong Ethnic Communities Council t/a Diversitat

President: Linda Sydor Petkovic

Secretary: Zoran Dimovski

Treasurer: Eldo Jacob

Multicultural Aged Care Services Geelong Inc.

Chair: Spiro Fatouros

Deputy Chair: Gillian Costa

Treasurer: Deanne Firth

Further Directors on the Board are:

Sophia Shen

Gerald De Stefano

Gael Perry OAM

Tess Aberline

Supporting the work of the Board, we have the following six Committees:


Consumer Rights & Wellbeing

Finance, Risk & Compliance

Community Engagement

Infrastructure & Property

Corporate & Government Relations

All our achievements across the programs are captured in the Annual Report and Financial Statements, which you can download from the Cultura Website
I hope you thoroughly enjoy reading all about the wonderful activities we have been running at Cultura over the past month and I look forward to sharing more with you in the next festive edition!


Kind regards,

Joy Leggo


Job Club is a new initiative from the Settlement and Community Employment Team.

Every Wednesday from 9:30 am – 12:00 pm, the computer lab is open for job seekers to drop in or by appointment. Anyone from our multicultural communities may attend whether they are currently working and looking for an alternative job, thinking about a different career pathway or need assistance to secure work for the first time.

Job Club is coordinated by our Community Employment Connector, Pat Onesta and is supported by some fantastic, skilled volunteers as well as other members of the Employment team.

Job Club assists with resume preparation, digital online applications, practicing interview skills, career coaching, and knowledge about how to network and anything else participants might need to gain employment. Bilingual support can be arranged for job seekers lacking confidence in English communication.

Job Club has already assisted 13 job seekers over the three weeks it has been running. Our volunteers have provided 16 hours of resume development, interview preparation and assisting with alternative career pathways.

If you or someone you know require extra support to find employment, we are here to help!


Last month we held a grand opening of a new venue for ‘A Room to Grow’ program. It is a safe, welcoming and culturally appropriate space for women from migrant, refugee and asylum seeker backgrounds.
The program is funded by Give Where You Live Foundation and co-designed by women and the program coordinator. ‘A Room to Grow’ is a family violence prevention program developed to support and empower women, promote community connection, decrease social isolation and work with strengths to increase capacity and confidence in existing skills.
Women attending the program are learning what constitutes and contributes to respectful relationships, gender equity, human rights. Clients learn to understand family violence indicators and how to access support if/when required. The women using the space have been motivated to engage in education and skill-building activities. The unique attribute of the program is that it incorporates cultural expression, such as art, craft, cooking and gardening, which are relevant to our multicultural communities. This results in significant change for those women, including capacity building and improvement in independence. Many programs and services run through the women’s space, including sewing classes on Wednesdays, drop-in sessions and a parenting program in cooperation with the City of Greater Geelong.
The program has a partnership with the training department and employment services based in Cultura to deliver two courses that were identified in consultation sessions held for women in ‘A Room to Grow’. The courses are sewing and food handling, with the certificate issued at the end of the last. The program has a number of volunteers supporting the women in the space in many aspects, including assisting them in the learning journey or helping with childminding.
A continuous increase in the number of women attending ‘A Room to Grow’ program is a testament that programs like this are essential to improving our multicultural communities’ wellbeing.


In October, we had an influx of student enrolments for our Certificate III and Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care courses at Diversitat Training. This rewarding career will best suit those who dream to inspire, encourage, and promote children’s learning while nurturing children’s sense of belonging and becoming.

We asked Nikkie, our Early Childhood Education Courses Trainer, what makes our Training department stand out from other course providers within the Geelong region and Regional Victorian suburbs.

According to Nikkie, besides specialising in providing services to students from the multicultural community and being a not-for-profit organisation, it is about achieving tangible outcomes!

“We have networking relationships with local employment organisations, local high schools and early learning services. Building these relationships with local organisations allows us to stay current within the sector and can assist our students with workplace experience while also providing organisations with the possibility of future employees,” explained Nikkie.


We offer the following courses:

  • CHC30121 Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care
  • CHC33015 Certificate III in Individual Support
  • CHC43115 Certificate IV in Disability
  • CHC52015 Diploma of Community Services
  • CHC50121 Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care

To find out more about the enrolment process and any other enquiries, please contact the training department at [email protected].


Gforce Career Quest Expo

On the 10th of November, the Cultura Training team became a part of the Gforce Career Quest. During the event, attendees were able to find out about what is required to take the next successful career step. It was great to hear presentations from industry experts and to be able to mingle with recruiters, support services, training providers and educators. The resume preparation service was available on the day, and many job seekers successfully secured real jobs while enjoying food trucks, entertainment and prizes!

Cultura staff attending the event presented information about our courses and conducted enrolments for all the prospective students wishing to enter the course on the day! To learn more about our Training department, please visit Training & Education – Cultura.



Community Visitors Scheme – Volunteers Needed


The Community Visitors Scheme (CVS) is a free government program for any aged person who has a Home Care Package or is waitlisted for the package. This program aims to provide companionship and social interaction to aged members of the community suffering from isolation or loneliness.

We pair a volunteer to visit the recipient in their home for a minimum of 1 hour per fortnight, where they can enjoy each other’s company – play cards, go for a walk, go to a café, etc. We believe that this is not only beneficial for the program recipients but also for the volunteers who are offering such a meaningful service and making new friends.

We are currently looking for volunteers in the Geelong, Surf Coast and Bellarine areas who can spare at least 1 hour per fortnight to be paired with a recipient and make a difference in someone’s life.

For more information, please contact Amanda Natai.

Amanda Natai

Volunteer Co-ordinator

Community Visitors Scheme – Cultura

Email: [email protected]

Phone: 0432 392 344

Volunteering with Cultura

We are currently urgently seeking volunteers who can assist with the following jobs:

  • lawn mowing
  • cafe work
  • op shop assistance
  • gardening
  • Pako Festa event

Nina, our volunteer coordinator, can be reached by calling (03) 5260 6000 or via e-mail at [email protected].

For more details about volunteering opportunities with Cultura, please visit Volunteers – Cultura.

People & Culture

The People and Culture team has recently started a fantastic new initiative – Organisational Induction Days for all new staff at Cultura. These days are held on the last Wednesday of each month, and we invite 10 to 20 new starters from all departments within Cultura to participate in the induction.

Our CEO, Joy Leggo, commences the day with an introduction and overview of the organisation, followed by visits to various Cultura sites across Geelong. This includes a morning tea at the Healthy Living Centre and a delicious lunch provided by Residential.

Cultura has a complex structure, so the Organisational Induction Days are an excellent way for our staff to find out what is happening in other departments and at different locations.

The day is arranged so all new staff who attend can visit and get a better understanding of operations at various parts of Cultura. These days are a great opportunity to meet some of the leadership team and all of the fantastic people who make Cultura an amazing place to work at.

We welcome all our new staff to Cultura and encourage them to attend one of our fun Induction Days and learn about our unique organisation!

Current Job Opportunities with Cultura

We have some exciting vacancies available at Cultura:

  • Team Leader, Financial Inclusion Program (Part Time)
  • Case Manager – Migration Services (Full Time)
  • Trainer and Assessor (Full Time and Part Time)
  • Activity Worker (Casual)
  • Wellbeing Worker (Part Time and Casual)

For more information, please visit our ‘Careers’ page Careers – Cultura.

Community Aged & Disability

At Cultura, we believe that retirement is the best time of your life, and a well-deserved time to yourself!

In October we traditionally celebrate Seniors month by holding various events for our wonderful aged clients.

This year our Centre-based and Respite Services team were incredibly lucky to receive a Positive Ageing grant from the City of Greater Geelong. The grant provided us with a fantastic opportunity to organise some ‘Come and Try’ sessions.

This initiative allowed us to introduce our Geelong seniors to the fun activities we run at Cultura Healthy Living Centre for our social support groups. At Cultura, we believe that age is just a number – one is never too old to discover a new talent or revisit past passions!

We invited Geelong seniors to attend four fabulous workshops across the months of October and November, and we had a fantastic attendance of active locals who really enjoyed offered activities!

The sessions launched with the gentle chair-based yoga workshop, followed by an energy-flowing tai chi session and ended with an energetic Zumba class and music ‘sing and dance along’ that made everyone jump off their seats and dance! What a fun way to rediscover your passions and remind yourself about what used to make you tick!

Adult Community & Further Education

Pulse - Community Radio

Residential Aged Care

Spring weather has been teasing us this month. We have had some glorious days where our residents were able to get out into the piazza or the gardens to soak up some vitamin D. We have been stretching our legs on the walking track, playing fetch with the visiting dog and gathering lavender and other blooming flowers in our garden.

We celebrated Oktoberfest with all our German residents by throwing a big party in the chapel with beer, pretzels, fun tunes performed by the very talented Ben Constanzo and good cheer abounding.

Residents were able to get together and play bingo for the first time in 3 years. We had a 20-person game with lots of very happy winners.

Some of the most discussed news this month was the glorious victories of our talented residents in the Geelong Show. We would like to congratulate Hilde Brenner for the fine needlecraft prize and Max Harding for the handmade leather winning items.

One of the most awaited events of the year also took place last month – our therapy horse – Beau, surprised residents with the visit to Cultura Residential. He walked into the chapel in the middle of the fashion parade dedicated to Oaks Day celebrations!


Bella Chara news

Bella’s Boutique had its Grand Opening last month. It was opened by our CEO Joy Leggo, together with Yvonne Box and Diane Elea, the two longest-standing residents of Bella Chara.

It was a beautifully mild day, so all the residents and staff gathered outside what was previously known as the POD to witness the cutting of the ribbon and the opportunity to purchase some goodies.

We are trialling the opening hours of Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings, but staff are happy to open up on a need basis. Residents have embraced this new venture and enjoy shopping for new and exciting products.

At the start of November, Bella Chara hosted a Pop-Up-Market, featuring handmade goods from local artists. Another opportunity for residents to obtain some original gifts for family and friends.

We currently have a few vacancies at our designer independent living residence – Bella Chara! To find out more about why life is better at Bella Chara, contact us (03) 4210 0000 or visit Bella Chara – Supported Care – Cultura.

Upcoming Events

2023 Cultura Pako Festa is looking for volunteers!

We are currently planning the 2023 Cultura Pako Festa and we are so excited to be able to take it back to the street!   The event will take place on Saturday, 25 February with the support of many of our Affiliated Cultural Communities.  In addition to our magnificent parade, we will also be hosting over 40 food traders and five stages featuring some of the best talent our community has to offer.

As you can imagine, such a big event requires a big effort to pull everything together and we simply could not run the festival without the hard work of our local community groups and our volunteers.  To continue the great success of this event and the positive impact it has on both local businesses and organisations and our valued community groups, we are currently looking to bring together a team of passionate individuals to help make Pako Festa 2023 one for the ages.

If you would like to donate a little of your time, it would be very much appreciated.  We are seeking volunteers to assist with a variety of tasks on the day for just 3-hour shifts, (or more if you would like) between 7am and 8pm.  Jobs on the day include:

  • Event Information Stall (We are looking at grouping different departments within all the Event Information Stalls)
  • Handing out Programs – general information
  • Delivering water to stages
  • Assisting within the Family Precinct (Town Hall) 12-5pm
  • Event Bump In from 7am-11am
  • Event Bump out from 5pm-8pm
  • Installing and removal of Signage in the street and on all stages
  • Parade assembly point
  • Parade Marshalling
  • Parade end point
  • Conducting Surveys
  • Photographers

All volunteers must have a valid Working with Children Check and will receive a t-shirt, food vouchers and sunscreen on the day.

Visit to express your interest in volunteering for Pako Festa 2023.


Cultura Training Brand Launch and Open Day!

Learn about the courses we offer while enjoying music, kids’ activities and light afternoon tea.


Annual Public Meeting

A friendly reminder that our Cultura Annual Public Meeting will be held on the 17th November 2022, 7:00 pm at the Healthy Living Centre.

It is nice to be able to do a face-to-face public meeting for the first in two years. Being the first Cultura meeting, the format will be slightly changed from what Diversitat and MACS have done in the past. We look forward to you joining us for this happy occasion.

Get in touch

We are Cultura.

Cultura emerged as the vibrant new organisation from the merger of Diversitat and Multicultural Aged Care Services (MACS) in 2022. 

ABN: 71 355 229 834

Multicultural Community Services Geelong Inc. trading as Cultura

Cultura acknowledges Aboriginal traditional owners of country throughout Victoria and pays respect to their cultures and elders past, present and emerging.

Get in touch