Opening rich in traditional culture

Centacare’s South West team has a long and proud history of celebrating and walking alongside the local Indigenous community. These strong links were evident last Friday, with First Nations clients and support workers playing key roles in the opening and blessing of the team’s new office in Darra, Yaggera country.

Bishop Ken Howell led guests in prayer and blessed all gathered, before blessing the new premises, which house regional management and teams providing critical services in the areas of aged care, disability care and specialist cleaning services across the region.

Elder Uncle Phil joined fellow client Darryl Jones to provide a heartfelt Acknowledgment of Country. Uncle Phil is a descendant of the Quandamooka People and both men spoke of the good life they’ve had, and the important role of the community at Centacare’s Alani Social and Community Hub.

Uncle Phil is a keen artist and presented the service with a painting of a butterfly, which represents the Yaggera nation.

Disability care client, Nicholas played the didgeridoo, alongside his support worker Corey.

Area General Manager Jess Neumann said the service is committed to reconciliation with First Nations Peoples and strives to respond to the cultural needs of the Indigenous community.

“Our Alani Social and Community Hub is a unique service we are very proud of,” said Jess.

“The service plays an important role in in recognising and celebrating Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and is a great way for older people to come together and enjoy each other’s company.

“Outings and art are favourite pastimes at the Hub. The group enjoys the opportunity to be out in nature, which gives our Elders the chance to share traditional stories on Yaggera country and collect art materials. Our Elders are very talented and enjoy sharing their guidance with others.”

State Minister for Mount Ommaney Jess Pugh MP reflected on the critical role played by the South West team, which includes 268 support workers who service clients in the greater Ipswich region, spanning as far west as Fernvale and Coominya, south to Mount Gravatt and north to Mount Ommaney.

The team supports people that grew up in institutions such as the Challinor Centre, a mental health facility that operated from 1940 to 1998, when it was closed. Many people moved from this facility into supported independent living arrangements, where they received the high quality care and support the needed to live in their own homes and as part of their communities.

Equally challenging yet critical is the unique work this team does to support people who are living with hoarding disorder. The four-person specialist cleaning team work with people who have an obsessive need to acquire and keep items, often to the detriment of their health and wellbeing and that of their family.

This team are respectful and supportive as they work with clients to de-clutter their home and improve their quality of life.

The South West team also support older people in their homes and through social and community support at the Melody Street hub, where people engage in cooking and activities to help them feel connected and part of the community.