Friday Night School was created nearly 20 years ago through the vision of Margaret Gurry AM. Whilst working as a volunteer visitor to families in the high rise public housing flats in Richmond, Margaret recognized a pressing need for one-on-one tuition in English for the children she visited whose parents had little or no English language skills. One Friday evening, Margaret arranged to do just that with a handful of children in a near-by church hall.

From this modest beginning in 1996 Margaret developed a program that now sees almost 200 students enrolled to attend tutoring sessions on Friday evenings at the St Ignatius’ Parish hall in Richmond. With the assistance of volunteer tutors and teachers, and financial support from the community, Friday Night School is now a thriving community-based charity that is having a very positive impact on the lives of children from Melbourne’s various migrant groups.

Many of the students we assist have arrived in Australia from developing countries such as Vietnam, Ethiopia, Sudan and East Timor. While most of these  students live in and around the  flats in Richmond,  some now travel from as far as Deer Park, Derrimut and West Heidelberg to attend their classes.

In recognition of her work with the migrant community, Margaret has been awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Education from the Australian National University and admitted as a Member of the Order of Australia. Click here to learn more about Margaret’s awards.