Balmain for Refugees

Balmain for Refugees (BFR) is a committee of Balmain Uniting Church and the wider community. BFR volunteers have helped over seven hundred asylum seekers since its inception in 2001 in the wake of the Tampa crisis. BFR is comprised of a wide range of volunteers including lawyers and final year law students, psychiatrists, psychologists, interpreters and translators, transcribers and community member from a wide range of backgrounds.

BFR’s initial focus was providing assistance to failed asylum seekers in Villawood Immigration Detention Centre. BFR has also received requests for help from asylum seekers in Perth, Baxter, Curtin and Sherger Immigration Detention Centres (IDCs). As more asylum seekers are now being released from detention BFR’s role has widened to include asylum seekers living in the community.

BFR’s two major roles are firstly, assisting failed asylum seekers apply to the courts for review of their adverse decisions, and secondly, writing requests to the Minister to intervene based on compelling new evidence and information that they face torture, imprisonment and/or death in their home countries. More recently, BFR has been concerned about the increasing number of boat arrivals who are flown to Sydney to settle in the community and know no one.

Can you help us?

BFR is constantly in need of volunteers who have some legal or other professional skills


Balmain Uniting Church offers Sanctuary:

Balmain Uniting Church is proud to be one of the churches across Australia offering Sanctuary to Asylum Seekers facing immanent transfer to off-shore detention centres.

We would like to extend our sincere thanks to all who have contacted us with messages and offers of support. We are having difficulty responding to all the generous messages we have received in the last few hours. We hope to respond as best we are able in the next few days.

In the meantime there are a couple of things you can do immediately:

Unfortunately we are not able to take donations of goods e.g. blankets, clothing, furniture and food. Please contact your local op shop to see if they are able to make use of these items in your area.

Thanks again for your kind and generous support.

Peace be with you,  Nicole