Cultura Connect: October 2022

A word from our CEO

Dear friends,

I would like to thank all of our wonderful staff, volunteers and clients for yet another fantastic month here at Cultura. We have so much to celebrate including the recent launch of a ‘Room To Grow’ program; the amazing ‘Women in Sport’ award given to our Youth Wellbeing Worker, Sara Chehrenegar, for her achievements working with multicultural youth; our breathtaking ‘Elements of Culture’ exhibition at White Night Geelong and the many great achievements and results across all of our Cultura programs.

In other good news, after two years we are thrilled to bring one of Geelong’s most favourite events – Pako Festa back home! Cultura is over the moon about 2023 Pako Festa returning back to Pakington Street.

The team, led by Luisa LaFornara, are currently planning the 2023 event to be staged on Saturday, 25th February, along Pakington Street, between Gordon Ave and Waterloo Street.

The theme for 2023 will be ‘Sharing and Connecting Cultures: the Reunion’. This is about human reconnection, not only within the diverse communities, but with the broader Geelong community as well.

Pako Festa was established in 1983 and has been one of the highlights on the Geelong Events Calendar for over 40 years. This successful event attracts crowds of over 100,000 people and fulfils its purpose, which is to celebrate local diversity with the broader community while fostering a spectacular cultural experience full of music, colour, food, costumes, dance and movement.

I invite you to join us at this truly special event and encourage you to keep an eye out on our social media channels to stay up to date with all the great things happening at Cultura.

Kind regards,

Joy Leggo


As you may have seen in the news, there is a severe affordable housing shortage in Australia, with regional areas like Geelong being particularly impacted. The housing situation in regional Victoria for ALL families at the moment is very complex and stressful.

Now imagine how challenging this task is for our clients who recently arrived in Australia with little or no English, and who lack the required skills and experience to secure a home of their own. Combined with no rental history, it can be an almost impossible task for them to enter the challenging housing rental market. For our refugee and newly arrived families who lived through trauma and may have lost their homes, looking for a house to rent can become a challenging task and a heart-retching experience.

It is not surprising that our newly arrived clients rely heavily on Cultura’s Humanitarian Settlement Program (HSP) team to settle and start their new life in Australia. The HSP provides a wide range of supports for clients, including help with securing a home of their own and ongoing property tenancy assistance.

We are very proud of the achievements of our Cultura HSP team, particularly Emma Webb, who as a housing worker has been able to secure long-term accommodation for 20 families in the past six months! Despite all the challenges, when we see the happy smiles of our clients moving into their long-term rentals, it is the best reward for our team!

Emma is pictured here with her client, Fahima Rasouli, who has just moved into a three-bedroom house with her two teenage sons.


A big shout-out to our Colac Community Development team! They run a range of fantastic programs for the Colac multicultural community.

In the past couple of months, they had great success with the ‘Tastes of the World’ program, funded by Acciona. Our Colac team organised fund-raising sessions with multicultural communities where they offered a tasting plate carefully created by each community: Dumpling Day was hosted by the Chinese community, followed by Indonesian and Filipino communities’ feasts.

Last month we also celebrated the incredible achievements of the Colac Homework Club program. Out of over 50 nominations, Cultura Colac Homework Club became a finalist in the Outside of School Hours Learning Support Program of the Year!

We were privileged to be nominated for this prestigious award by the Centre of Multicultural Youth for the 4th time.

A special congratulation goes to our nominee in the Outstanding Secondary School Student category for their ‘Highly Commended’ results. Well done Fiona Mathoat!

The team held a fun night celebrating their fantastic results with the students, parents and volunteers.


If you considered a rewarding career in the community services area, there was never a better time than now!

The State Government is guaranteeing thousands of TAFE graduates will get jobs caring for Victorians who need the most support.

The $39 million jobs program will guarantee all students a job in the social services sector when they graduate from the Diploma of Community Services between 1 September 2022 and 31 August 2024. Pre-registrations will begin on 1 September, and job matching will start on 1 October.

This means that by enrolling in the Diploma of Community Services, you will have a guaranteed job at the end of the course!

As leaders in working with people from diverse backgrounds, we have vast experience supporting people with barriers to education.

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].



Volunteers are an essential part of any not-for-profit organisation. Without the assistance of our wonderful community, Cultura won’t be able to achieve the targets and function properly in our entirety. We always strive to ensure that our volunteers have full assistance, including the provision of a volunteer coordinator and support workers.

We require your kind assistance from the moment our newest members of our diverse community arrive with assisting them to feel welcomed, arranging for appropriate housing, the orientation of our lovely city, getting their feet wet in the workplace, school tutoring, and ensuring their overall health and wellbeing till they have settled into our society.

We are currently urgently seeking volunteers who can assist with lawn mowing. Our clients often don’t have the financial resources, skills, transport or physical ability to look after the lawns in their rental properties. Their chances of keeping rentals depend on your help!

You can work with our clients in Geelong or Colac areas. Just get in touch with us and let us know you’re interested, and we’ll take it from there. As always, your feedback and suggestions are much valued.

Nina, our volunteer coordinator, can be reached by calling (03) 5260 6000 or via e-mail at [email protected]. Please do not hesitate to contact her on Thursdays and Fridays from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm.

People & Culture

Wellbeing and Mental Health for Cultura Staff.

Two and a half years of Covid-19, the current shortage of staff across industries mean increased workloads, blurring of role descriptions, and staff burnout are at a record high. Organisations across Australia are increasing supports and awareness of Wellbeing and Mental Health for their staff.

Cultura employees have shown commitment and resilience throughout difficult times, with care and outcomes for clients always being their priority.

As an organisation, we are implementing a range of supports to assist our staff and help them overcome challenges and build resilience. We are excited to share this news with our wider Cultura family.

On Monday, 10 October, we introduced Mental Health First Aid Support Network to acknowledge World Mental Health Day. The network consists of staff who undertook Australian Mental Health First Aid Accreditation. We hope this network will play an important role as another contact and information point for our teams and will ensure that Cultura employees have someone to talk to should they require additional support.

Current Job Opportunities with Cultura

We have some exciting vacancies available at Cultura:

  • Accountant – applications close on 21 October 2022
  • Finance Manager – applications close on 21 October 2022
  • Activity Worker – applications close on 19 October 2022
  • Rostering Coordinator – applications close on 15 October 2022
  • Wellbeing Worker – applications close on 5 November 2022
  • Food Service Assistant (Cultura Residential) – applications close on 18 October 2022

For more information, please visit our ‘Careers’ page

Community Aged & Disability

In September, we wished a long, happy, and fulfilling retirement to two wonderful Home Services team members who have together contributed over 16 years of service to Cultura.

On behalf of all of us at Cultura, we would like to thank Kerryn for her work as a Wellbeing Co-Ordinator. We know that many families will miss the care and guidance she has given them with their packages of care over the years.

Lyn played the important role of assisting our clients to navigate the aged care system and would often be the first person people met when they were enquiring about receiving aged care services in the home.  We thank Lyn for her role in establishing the private arm of Cultura – home-based services and for the work she has done with the Hospice Foundation in delivering palliative care services into the home.

On behalf of Cultura staff and clients, we wish both ladies the very best for the future and thank them with deep respect for the care, compassion, expertise and Cultura value of kindness that they have shown to countless families and consumers over the years.

Adult Community & Further Education

Pulse - Community Radio

Residential Aged Care

Last month at Cultura Residential we were reminded yet again of the amount and quality of the talent we have! It was enough to create the whole art show! We were able to collect, display, and then enjoy the art of our clients, volunteers and employees. The range of the genres presented varied from paintings to pencilled sketches, pottery to textiles, embroidery to knitting pieces. It was spectacular! We had visitors who were able to attend the show and it brought so much happiness to everyone involved that we are hoping to be able to conduct the art show yearly!

One of the highlights of last month was the great victory of our Geelong Cats team. While the whole city was celebrating, we decided to hold our own Footy Tipping happy hour to culminate the AFL season for some of Cultura’s biggest Cats supporters. Joe Serra serenaded us, and the kitchen made a fabulous AFL-themed cake that tasted as good as it looked. The results were in with the trophy presented to John M for first place!

In between our fun-filled events, our residents took the opportunity to relax and enjoy the serenity of some of Victoria’s most spectacular landscapes – Meredith lookout! And for those clients, who prefer some quiet time in our blissful garden, we started the “Pretty in Pots” project. The residents are enjoying the warmer weather outdoors while pursuing an ambitious goal to pot at least 150 cuttings from our own garden before Christmas! Keep an eye out on our social media pages for regular updates on this and other fantastic events we run at Cultura Residential.

Upcoming Events

Age is just a number- come and try our popular fun activities!

Don’t let age get in the way. Discover a new talent or revisit past passions while attending three active workshops across the month of October/November. Dance, bend, stretch and move along with other like-minded individuals to find what makes you tick. All sessions are access friendly and suited to all levels and abilities.

19/10/22- Watson introduces you to the art of Taichi.

27/10/22- Shake your hips with Mariela and her Zumba dance.

4/11/22- Music to make you feel good with Lucy and her accordion.

Join us at the Cultura Healthy Living Centre  1.30-2.30 , bookings essential  ph: 5222 7275

25-41 Arunga Ave, Norlane.


Cultura Training Brand Launch and Open Day!

When: Friday 11th November, 2pm-4pm

Where: 68-70 Little Ryrie Street, Geelong, 3220

Come and celebrate the launch of our renewed Training Department, now Cultura Training.

  • Meet with trainers
  • Take a tour around our facilities
  • Get career pathways advice from our incredible team

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


Annual Public Meeting

Save the date: 17 November 2022, 7:00 pm

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