Gimme Shelter: The grocery fundraiser for Geelong’s asylum-seeker and refugee families

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Gimme Shelter: The grocery fundraiser for Geelong’s asylum-seeker and refugee families

Now here’s a gig you can feel good about! Refugee Week’s Gimme Shelter at The Workers’ Club Geelong on Friday 23 June, is a grocery fundraiser for Geelong’s asylum-seeker and refugee families. You’d be mad to miss it.

For starters, the acts are straight from the top shelf. Twice ARIA-nominated Dan Brodie headlines with the swagger he tours across Europe every year. On stage, this guy just drips with authenticity and charisma. There’s the rising folk-singer Freya Josephine Hollick, whose haunting voice is both fragile and powerful. You won’t get many more chances to see this lady close up. She’s the real deal. The evening also features the Bellarine Peninsula’s well-loved Sarah Carroll and cracking Melbourne group Riflebirds in acoustic mode.

Rod Collins, who has organised Gimme Shelter in conjunction with Diversitat, Spinning Half and The Workers’ Club, says a need to promote inclusion and empathy is the driving factor behind the fundraiser.

“Many people are finding that we can’t always rely on our governments to display values such as empathy, particularly on the issue of asylum-seekers and refugees,” Collins says. “Opinions are important, but action is better. Gimme Shelter is a chance for punters to make a positive contribution to the lives of new arrivals to this community.”

This brings us to the cause. Diversitat runs a Food Bank at South Barwon Community Centre in Belmont, established after an influx of more than 500 asylum-seekers released from detention in 2013. Diversitat’s Maureen O’Keeffe explains that many asylum-seekers in Geelong need to use a lot of their incomes on the legal costs of gaining a visa.

“Places such as the Asylum-Seeker Resource Centre in Footscray and Refugee Legal are wonderful, but can only support so many and are not easy for Geelong families to access,” O’Keeffe says.

Harry, who is seeking asylum from Iran with his wife and two young children, visits the Food Bank every week. He has said that being able to pick up free staples such as rice, tinned tomatoes, long-life milk and washing powder is crucial to him being able to pay the big bills needed to establish his family in a safe country. He has spent $6,000 on lawyers to prepare his family’s visa application and has to also cover interpreters and ever-rising utilities and rent.

Additionally, asylum-seekers are not entitled to health care cards, banks will not issue loans or credit cards, and employment can be hard to come by. Services like a well-stocked Food Bank make things a little less tough – which is where Gimme Shelter comes in. All profits from the night will go towards supporting the Food Bank and the people who use this vital service.

Punters can also score more than just a night of great music, with a number of Geelong businesses donating items to be auctioned off between acts. Nevermind Adventure in Pakington Street has come forward with $500 worth of motorcycle tours, The Pivotonian Cinema has given packs of free movie passes and the Geelong Football Club has made available a limited edition print, signed by the team with more to come.

Excellent acts, a great cause and the chance to nab yourself a bargain, we’re already there! Book tickets at

When & Where: The Workers Club, Geelong – June 23.

Photo by Jessica Tremp.