Refugees and asylum seekers settling in Melbourne’s west are receiving a warmer welcome than ever thanks to members of a new Facebook group.

In less than three months the West Welcome Wagon (WWW) has already helped more than 100 families with household items and other support as they settle in the area.

Yarraville’s Mia McGregor started the group when she realised families were moving into the area without a single item of furniture or any household goods.

She said many new arrivals were sleeping on floors without any beds, bedding or power to the home.

“I found out there were a number of refugees moving into the inner-west without anything. I thought I had a few things I could donate and I put out a call in the Inner West Buy Swap Sell Facebook group and had an amazing response.”

Also one of the founders of The Care To Share Project, Ms McGregor started the WWW group in September. Membership has already raced to more than 600. It has helped provide material aid to households from Footscray to Geelong, including food parcels, furniture and clothing as well as toys, bikes and Christmas present parcels. “With this massive need, all sorts of other things would also help,” she said. “It’s a very accessible way people can be involved. I think this is such an important thing.”

Ms McGregor is full of praise for the community’s willingness to chip in and offer assistance in any way they can, and she expects the group’s ability to help out will snowball as word gets around.

“We need [people’s homes] to be dropping off points,” she said.

“We also need people with vans and utes who can help us carry donations and we need drivers generally who can help with things like driving people to the supermarket.”

The initiative has already started to help people form closer bonds through events such as cooking classes where asylum seekers share their traditional recipes. “This has all been very grassroots; it’s just such a great community here in the west.” 

» facebook.com/groups/westwelcomewagonrefugeesupport