Community stories Disaster recovery stories eNews: 30 August 2023
Yarning and other culturally-informed models of health can support people in the community to explore factors that impinge on social-emotional wellbeing (SEWB) and co-create solutions for individual and family wellbeing, including young people.
(Murrup-Stewart et al, 2021)
The Northern River Community Healing Hub is a network of local Indigenous and non-Indigenous volunteers who practice a range of culturally informed trauma-integrated healing modalities including weaving circles, art therapy and bodywork (massage). The hub was established following the catastrophic 2022 flood event in the Northern Rivers.
They received a grant for $24,570 through the Rebuilding Futures program, funded by the Suncorp Group to support the hub practitioners to grow and develop their work through increased service delivery moving from an entirely volunteer model to a hybrid paid / volunteer operation. NRCHH is available to all people, regardless of cultural background with a focus on their target population: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, children and young people, families, including older people. The project also included Mobile Hub operations to enable better access to the service within communities themselves – where they need them most, and in consultation with community.
The healing practice activity funded by the project has directly benefitted 639 people across the community at outreach to the pod villages of Coraki and Lismore, and tents at the Nimbin Aquarius Festival and Murwillumbah Kinship Festival, and workshops for a Queer Flood Recovery Event and an event for school children. In addition there have been weekly sessions at the Healing Hub including: 15 bodywork sessions per week free to the community; free flowing drop in weaving / yarning circle on Wednesdays; and clay art therapy once a week.
The NRCHH has evolved through the project. The paid / volunteer mixed model has been successful and they are now seeking input and collaboration that will deepen partnerships and relationships with the organisations that they currently work with to continue.
Project Manager Ruth Rosenhek said, “At the Healing Hub, we provide a de-clinicalised, informal soft-texture gentle space to support healing for our community that focuses on the whole person including a phenomenally successful bodywork program that runs alongside cultural activities such as weaving and yarning circles, creative arts and community connection. We have found that 18 months past the 2022 flood events, people continue to be managing high levels of stress and trauma. These cultural activities that involve sitting on country, slowing down the pace, connection and belonging are all powerful healing agents.”