Advance Diversity Services (ADS) is partnering with the University of Wollongong (UOW) to enhance the ability of the settlement and community services sectors to serve the needs of CALD LGBTIQA+ communities.

The joint research project, funded by UOW’s Community Engagement Grants Scheme, aims to understand gaps in the knowledge and skills of diversity service workers when servicing culturally diverse LGBTIQ+ communities in the context of COVID-19.

‘This is a wonderful opportunity to pilot a collaborative approach to understanding the level of LGBTIQA+ acceptance, knowledge and skills of ADS’s service workers,’ said Anthony Scerri, ADS’s Manager for Settlement and Community Services.

‘Once we identify gaps, we can effectively target staff training. Our ultimate aim is to ensure people from CALD LGBTIQ+ communities receive the services they need and feel welcome and included.’

Dr Quah Ee Ling Sharon, Senior Lecturer in Sociology, School of Humanities and Social Inquiry, is leading the research project. Dr Qua is a Singaporean-Chinese queer migrant woman academic whose work draws from decolonial, transnational and intersectional feminist perspectives and centres round community-based research, inequalities and social justice.

She said she was happy to be collaborating with ADS on the project to bring better outcomes for CALD LGBTIQA+ people.

Three innovative projects were chosen for UOW’s 2020 Community Engagement Grants Scheme launched at a virtual celebration on October 22.

Monique Harper-Richardson, Director of Advancement, UOW, and President of the UOW’s USA Foundation, said the quality of this year’s applications for grants was ‘at the highest level’ and all projects funded focused on resilience and recovery for communities affected by COVID-19.

‘These are extraordinary projects and I’m incredibly excited. I also extend my sincere congratulations to the three recipients.’

Special guest at the celebration Dr Belinda Kathlyn Gibbons, Senior Lecturer Faculty of Business, Sydney Business School, UOW, said the grants would help to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals ‘to care for all things and to leave no one behind’.

Mr Scerri said the pandemic had been hard on many in the community and especially marginalised people from diverse backgrounds.

‘This research will help to ensure LGBTIQA+ people from CALD backgrounds receive the best and most appropriate service possible.’

Caption 1: Dr Quah Ee Ling Sharon, Senior Lecturer in Sociology at the University of Wollongong (UOW) at the virtual launch of a new UOW-ADS research project.