The New Migrants Program
The New Migrants program aims to introduce newly arrived migrants and refugees to the parks and outdoor spaces of Australia, supporting their community connectedness and social and emotional wellbeing through connection to nature and community.
The program encourages immigration, welfare and community services to embed parks as resources for program delivery and facilitate their clients’ access to free and local outdoors spaces.
The program has been running for several years in the Barwon Region of Victoria, with Barwon Medicare Local supporting local services that work with newly arrive migrants and refugee communities. Activities undertaken include bike riding, tree planting, surfing, guided walks and English classes at local sanctuaries.
Where possible, literacy development has been incorporated into activities and park agencies have been supported around their engagement with culturally and linguistically diverse communities.
‘The benefits of contact with nature for migrants include increased sense of identity and ownership of the country they live in; sense of integration rather than isolation; a reunion with nature; the reawakening of a sense of possibility; restoration and a relief from daily struggles; empowerment, skill development and the enabling of opportunity to participate in caring for the environment’.
Immigration, welfare and community services
If you are an immigration, welfare and community service, Active in Parks would love to help you find ways to connect people new to Australia with nature.As this program relies on relationships with local park agencies we encourage you to contact us here so that we can connect you with the right people in your area. Once you have been in contact with us, it’s as simple as choosing a park, an activity and getting started.
Park Agencies and Local Councils
If you are a park agency or council and would like to make your parks and gardens available to newly arrived migrants, refugees and the services that support them, please contact us for information on how to do this.
We would be very happy to point you in the right direction and provide consultation around how to ensure your spaces are accessible and welcoming to these communities.
 Maller, C., Townsend, M., Pryor, A., Brown, P. & St Leger, L. (2005). Healthy nature healthy people: ‘contact with nature’ as an upstream health promotion intervention for populations. Health promotion journal, 21(1), 45-54.