The Spanish and Latin-American Community Organization was founded in 1989 under the name of the "Spanish Social and Community Development Committee".
Its objective was to provide assistance, support information and advocacy with a strong emphasis placed on referral to mainstream agencies accountable for appropriate service delivery ensuring client equity to Spanish Speaking individuals and groups, and to develop community networks, create support groups and general community liaison.
Previous funding received from:
Ethnic Affairs Commission
Area Assistance Scheme
Currently funded by the Department of Family and Community Services
Originally the community was mainly integrated by Spanish immigrants, arriving in the late 50’s early 60’s.
The arrival of refugees from Chile, Uruguay and Argentina during the mid-1970s grew the community even more, and the Centre became the home of additional community development initiatives.
In recent years immigrants started arriving from South and Central America with a large proportion from Peru, Colombia, Nicaragua and El Salvador.
Today the Spanish speaking community is the 2nd largest ethnic group in the Shellharbour Municipality and 5th in the Wollongong Municipality.
The mixture of immigrants from such different nations with different customs linked with a common language, which at times has many differences in pronunciation, grammar, and vocabulary, has made the Spanish Speaking community a very unique community with needs of individualism, autonomy and understanding.
With more than 25 years experience we are skilled at building bridges across cultures. SALCO has with perseverance, collaboration and support, been able to unite the community in common grounds and achieve projects, programs and events developed and delivered in collaboration with a range of non-profit and other community partners.
One of our current achievements was to initiate the unity of the Spanish speaking organisations in the Illawarra. After several meetings and consultations in 2013 we were able to work in colaboration with CAPAH Multicultural organisation to create a consultative group under the name of SESSAG (South Eastern Spanish Speaking Action Group) to serve as a medium of communication between community and social representatives of the Spanish speaking community of the Illawarra. The oficial launch took place in March 2014 at Stockand Community Room Shellharbour, attending Stephen Jones MP ALP for Throsby, Shellharbour Deputy Mayor Cr Paul Rankin, representing Illawarra Forum Natalie Mancilla, multicultural health officer Estela Gimenez representing Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District and leader representatives of the Spanish speaking community.
We are successful at promoting the advancement of the Spanish speaking community by serving as a training ground and a referral source for other businesses and organisations.
Our future goal is to offer a range of programs to guide our community to address their basic needs and provide them with the information and necessary skills to achieve self-sufficiency, put down roots, build a better and healthier life for themselves and their families, promote community involvement and integration, preserve their culture and heritage and contribute to strong, thriving communities.