Latest News

Focus Connect COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Update

POSTED: 08th May 2020

Click on READ MORE for important information about changes to our services and programs.

Given the ever-changing situation surrounding COVID-19, we want to connect with you, as a highly valued member of our Focus Connect community and let you know the steps we are taking to navigate through these unprecedented times.

Firstly, be assured that we are taking this situation seriously. The health and wellbeing of our clients, volunteers and staff is at the forefront of everything we do.

With this in mind we have made the following changes to our services and programs:

  • All Face-to-Face appointments will now be conducted via the telephone if possible and/or appropriate.


  • From Thursday, March 19 until further notice, all of our Aged Care Social Support Groups and Individual Social Supports have been cancelled.
  • Home Care Packages will continue as normal.


  • From Monday, March 23 until further notice, we will be cancelling all of our social and educational groups/activities including Playgroup, Start Right, HIPPY, Parenting programs and Settlement programs.


  • Our NDIS Community Access Group will continue to run as normal.
  • Individual Services and Primrose Cottage Respite will also continue as normal.

In this time of social distancing, we invite you to stay connected with us via our website and follow us on Facebook, you can also call the office to talk to your contacts.

In an environment of information overload we do encourage you to refer to the World Health Organisation and Australian Government Department of Health for the most up to date health advice.

Other language resources on COVID-19 are available from

We will get through this, together.

Stay safe and healthy.

Seniors week 2020 3

Focus Connect Celebrates Seniors Week 2020

POSTED: 21st February 2020

Event Recap & Photos: Love, Happiness & Wellness Day at The Manse.

On Monday, 10 February 2020 Focus Connect celebrated Seniors Week.

The Poem "Not" by Erin Hanson (see below) was read to mark the occasion and it summed up the theme of the day perfectly.

The seniors who attended the event spoke about, and reminisced, on what they did, their beauty, their cultural experiences, their family, their support for each other, the places they have been, what they believe in and all the people they love, and have loved. They also spoke about seniors sometimes being defined by all the things they are “Not”.

The event featured a toast to celebrate being a senior and included morning tea, a lunch prepared by the Coffee Room members, using natural ingredients and traditional recipes, interactive Valentine Day puzzles and Uruguayan folk dancing from members of Focus Connect Social Support Group.


NOT by Erin Hanson

You are not your age, nor the size of clothes you wear,
You are not a weight, or the color of your hair.
You are not your name, or the dimples in your cheeks.
You are all the books you read, and all the words you speak.
You are your croaky morning voice, and the smiles you try to hide.
You’re the sweetness in your laughter, and every tear you’ve cried.
You’re the songs you sing so loudly when you know you’re all alone.
You’re the places that you’ve been to, and the one that you call home.
You’re the things that you believe in, and the people whom you love.
You’re the photos in your bedroom, and the future you dream of.
You’re made of so much beauty, but it seems that you forgot
When you decided that you were defined by all the things you’re not.


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Good News Story: from Focus Connect HIPPY Program

POSTED: 12th February 2020

Ann Tibbles, Focus Connects HIPPY Program Coordinator, shares some beautiful and heartfelt feedback.

As told by Barunaya Shnan, HIPPY Tutor at Focus Connect, about one of her 2019 HIPPY graduates. 

Thomas was so excited about the graduation ceremony last night (09/12/2019). He recalled the magician and laughed when he remembered his silly mistakes.

He had all his HIPPY books on the floor and we found his favourites. He liked the experiments and making things he said.

When we reviewed Thomas's portfolio his Mum was crying. She said she was so emotional about the last day of the program. Mum talked about the great support she and her family got from the HIPPY program and staff.

This family has really benefited from doing HIPPY. They said they felt less isoloted, had improved their English skills and were confident that Thomas was now more than ready for school. Through the HIPPY program they learnt that all their children are different, learn at their own pace and in the their own unique manner - and this is to be celebrated. 

Feedback from Thomas's teacher is that he has settled into school very well and is a confident and keen learner.

Focus Connect’s HIPPY Program (Home Interaction Program for Parents and Youngsters) is a two year home-based learning and parenting program for families with young children who live in the Campbelltown area . To find our more visit HIPPY Australia.


SBS Arabic Radio Interview - Empowering Women Program

POSTED: 11th February 2020 SOURCE: SBS Arabic Radio 05th February 2020

Sana Al-Ahmar discussses Focus Connects services and programs, including the Butterfly Program.

(This audio is copyright to SBS)

Program: SBS Arabic Radio Interviewer: Manal Al - Ani Interviewee: Sana Al-Ahmar Duration: 6:57

Chinese new year 2020 1

Chinese Aged Social Support Group Celebrates Chinese New Year

POSTED: 29th January 2020

Saturday, 25 January 2020 - Year of the Rat.

Chinese New Year is the Chinese festival that celebrates the beginning of a new year on the traditional Chinese calendar. The origin of Chinese New Year is based on a mythical beast, Nian. The people used the colour red and firecrackers to scare away the beast. Chinese New Year is associated with several myths and customs. The festival was traditionally a time to honour deities as well as ancestors.

It is traditional for every family to thoroughly clean their house. Deep cleaning your home before Chinese New Year is important for two reasons: relatives are coming, but also it’s believed to cleanse the home of all the previous year’s negative energy.

It is tradition to use red coloured paper-cuts outs on windows and doors that symbolize longevity, wealth, happiness, and good fortune. The most popular character is the word “fortune” [福].

Children, colleagues and family receive ornate envelopes with various amounts of money from parents, grandparents, and customers respectively, along with blessings and grand wishes of a prosperous and healthy New Year. The amount is traditionally an even number, not divisible by four since it symbolizes death.

It’s believed that all outstanding bills owed to friends and family should be paid before the Chinese New Year, so debt is not carried over into the New Year.

Chinese believe that crying on the 1st day of the Chinese New Year will result in sad times for the remainder of the year. It is also poor form to start the New Year by swearing, getting upset or losing your cool.

On the last day of Chinese New Year, called Lantern Day, everyone walks along the street carrying paper lanterns. This is supposed to light the way for the New Year. The highlight of the Lantern Festival is the Dragon Dance. Beautiful dragons made of paper, silk and bamboo are held overhead, and appear to dance as they make their way along the parade routes.

Chinese New Year Reunion Dinner

Chinese families gather for the annual reunion dinner. Chinese New Year food is a key ingredient to the most important holiday of the year. The food is at the center of celebrations bringing family together to exchange gifts, reminisce and look forward to the New Year. Eating the right food could mean prosperity in the New Year, while the wrong food could misfortune. Most traditional Chinese New Year foods is served because their name sounds like another word meaning happiness, wealth or good fortune. Other foods are chosen because they resemble gold or money.

Whole Fish (abundance, prosperity)
The Chinese word for fish sounds like the Chinese word for “surplus.” Fish is typically served whole at the end of the meal as a sign of surplus at the end of the year. The surplus is seen as an important factor to making more next year.

Broccoli or Cauliflower (riches)
Broccoli or cauliflower dishes are served because of the stalks. Each stalk symbolizes a blossoming new year.

Noodles (longevity)
The length of noodles represent longevity, but don’t cut them or you will be cutting your life short.

Shrimp – Happiness
In Chinese, the word for “shrimp” is pronounced “ha.” Because it sounds like laughter, shrimp is served symbolizing a happy year ahead.

Jiaozi or Chinese dumplings – prosperity
Chinese dumplings are classic Chinese New Year food, typically enjoyed on Chinese New Year’s Eve.

Oranges/tangerines – wealth
Oranges are a popular symbol of good luck because of the similarity of the words “orange” and “luck” in Chinese. They are also a great gift for the host if you are attending a Chinese New Year’s dinner.

Spring Rolls – wealth
Spring rolls’ are Chinese New Year food for wealth. Their cylindrical shape resembles gold bars.

Sweets – sweet life in the New Year
A popular Chinese New Year sweet is the Glutinous Rice Cake (“Nian gao” in Chinese). The sweetness of the cake symbolizes a sweet, rich life. The cake’s layers symbolize abundance in the New Year.

Submitted by Cecilia Vera, Aged Care Services Manager


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Campbelltown macarthur advertiser 04122019

Helping to Make Connections

POSTED: 11th December 2019 SOURCE: Campbelltown Macarthur Advertiser 04th December 2019

Macarthur Diversity Services Initiative may have changed it's name to FOCUS Connect but it is still the same organisation that has been supporting Macarthur's local community for more than 35 years.

Minimising “the odds” in Camden

POSTED: 10th December 2019

Sometimes what can start off as fun, can become a bigger problem than what we first expect.

Problem gambling affects an estimated 3% of the Australian population and can often lead to financial, relationship, mental health and other issues. In light of this, the Office of Responsible Gambling is funding a Gambling Harm Minimisation project in the Camden LGA. The project will be in partnership with Focus Connect and Camden Council. The project aims to promote greater public awareness of the social issues surrounding problem gambling in the community. It also aims to inform community members of referral pathways and resources to support them through their situation. Make sure you keep an eye out for education sessions, workshops, and activities lined up for 2020!

Media Release: Introducing Focus Connect

POSTED: 22nd November 2019

At its AGM on Thursday, 31/10/2019 Macarthur Diversity Services Initiative Ltd (MDSI) announced a new name, new logo and new look.

Over the last 18-months, Macarthur Diversity Services Initiative (MDSI) has undergone consultations with our clients, families, community and external partners to understand what they thought of our brand and what we represented to them.

The results were compelling. Our clients were happy and appreciative of the work we do and our staff are happy, however many were confused by our name, what we stood for and our unique standing in the community sector.

As a result, we have been working hard in the background to redevelop our brand look and feel to ensure we are reflective of the changing needs of our community and ensure our values are at the forefront of everything we do.

We think our new name aptly reflects what we do, ‘giving people the support they need, when they need it’; and showcases our ‘focus on individual quality care’, whilst ‘encouraging community connections’

The rebrand is a physical representation of our growth of services under the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), our multicultural grassroots and an increased focus on providing innovative services. It is also reflects the journey we have been on over the last few years, expanding services beyond the Macarthur region.

Focus Connect will work under three departments: Focus Connect Aged Care, Focus Connect Community and Focus Connect Disability.

Whilst we have a new name, there will be no changes to our programs or services we currently provide.  

You will start to see the new brand rolled out over documentation, brochures, signage and our transport fleet shortly.

If you have any questions, lease contact us on 02 4627 1188, or 


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Article: St Patrick’s College Welcome Dinner

POSTED: 22nd November 2019 SOURCE: Inside Out

On the evening of Tuesday 19 November, St Patrick’s College hosted a Welcome Dinner for migrants and refugees who have recently arrived and settled in the Campbelltown area.


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Nsw volunteer of the year 2019

NSW Volunteer Of The Year Awards 2019

POSTED: 23rd September 2019

Volunteers from across South Western Sydney recognised for their outstanding contribution to volunteering at a special ceremony in Campbelltown.

The NSW Volunteer of the Year Awards is an annual program run by The Centre for Volunteering which has grown to become one of the largest celebrations of volunteering across the country. The ceremony recognises the enormous contribution volunteers make to their local communities and is a way to say thank you for their dedication and commitment.

MDSI congratulates all award recipients and our Volunteers, Robert Scorsone and Sawsan Wahba, who represented MDSI's Aged Care Team at the South Western Sydney/ Macarthur region ceremony held on the 17th of September 2019.

There is incredible value in being of service to others. Volunteers make a difference, thank you for caring. 

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Oct 2021

Women's Social Group

Tajweed Class

11:00am to 1:00pm
Via Zoom (details provided upon bo

Oct 2021

Virtual Cook N Chat

Sharing recipes, stories & culture over a plate of food.

9:30am to 10:30am
127 Dumaresq Street, 2560

Nov 2021

Women's Social Group

Tajweed Class

11:00am to 1:00pm
Via Zoom (details provided upon bo