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Local flooding couldn’t rain on Singleton’s NAIDOC week parade

For the team at Singleton Doctors the opportunity to utilise a PHN NAIDOC Week 2022 grant to plan a big celebration was met with excitement and a flurry of big ideas. The weather, however, had a different plan.

“Unfortunately, due to local flooding we were closed for four out of the seven days during NAIDOC week,” Practice Manager Emma-Louise Bussey said. “This was disappointing for us because we really had planned on celebrating NAIDOC with a bang.”

Instead of abandoning their plans the team decided to stick with their scheduled activities and began the celebration the following week, much to the appreciation of their patients.

“We decorated the practice in NAIDOC colours and of our receptionists created a streamer skirt which went across the front of our reception desk,” Emma-Louise said. “We got quite a few comments from people stating that the effect represented the outfits that First Nations people wear when they are doing corrobborees.

“A colouring-in competition was held for children involving First Nations artwork of turtles, kangaroos, goannas and the “Get Up, Stand Up and Show Up” theme for NAIDOC Week and we created a wall space to display the finished artworks.”

In addition to the in-practice activities, one of the key initiatives supported by the PHN NAIDOC Week grant provided to Singleton Doctors was the commissioning of a First Nations artwork that would take permanent pride of place within the surgery.

They engaged with Kiray Putjung Aboriginal Corporation at Cessnock who put them in touch with Mark Casim, a local first nation artist who supplied the artwork.

“Mark supports the local First Nations community, and he advised the commissions payment would go back into producing more artworks and supporting first nation programs around mental health,” Emma-Louise said.

“When I met Mark, he expressed to me a passion for mental health and helping others deal with grief and loss. This is very personal for him as he has lost his own son and had many struggles with this.

“We are working together with Mark to have more artworks completed and also organise a meet and greet with the doctors and staff for them to engage with him and gain some more knowledge.”

Across the Hunter New England Central Coast PHN over $120,000 in NAIDOC Week grants were delivered to primary care providers including General Practice, Allied Health, Commissioned Service providers as well as Aboriginal Medical Services.

“We had so many patients engaging and asking questions about NAIDOC week and the meaning behind it, it was so great to see that the community was getting involved. This would have not been possible for our practice without a grant,” Emma-Louise said.

“We hope that this has laid some steppingstones to keep building on and forming more solid foundations with the local first nation community especially in cultural awareness, safety, and inclusiveness.”

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