NAIDOC Week’s community fun day in Bega on Thursday was just that…fun.
Organised by the Bega Local Aboriginal Land Council, the event also provided many organisations and agencies with the opportunity to promote the health and welfare services available to the local Indigenous community.
The program featured traditional dance by Uncle Warren Foster and the Gulaga Dancers, plus there were plenty of giveaways and a barbecue lunch.
Face painting, jumping castles, the Playability toy library and paint-a-boomerang were activities the children could all enjoy while the adults found out more about programs, services and community support available in the Bega Valley from the various information stalls set up inside the Bega Showground pavilion.
Val Ofati, senior dentist for Katungul Aboriginal Corporation Community and Medical Centre, said the event was an ideal vehicle in promoting the centre’s services to the Indigenous community.
Katungul services include a comprehensive range of health care such as chronic diabetes management, immunisations, antenatal checks, drug and alcohol services, eye, mental and dental health, Indigenous community links, social and emotional wellbeing, and community liaisons, among others.
“We have been giving out a lot of information about the services offered, how we make resources available to the community and referral pathways to other services if needed.
“We have been seeing good results at Katungul, it’s a well-utilised service with a large area to cover,” Ms Ofati said.
“Dental in particular is in high demand.”
Megan Sidey, recovery worker for Personal Helpers and Mentors (PHaMs) said PHaMS is an important service for the Bega Valley community in dealing with mental health issues.
“PHaMS is keen on strengthening our ties with the Indigenous community in the area.
“Mental health is a universal issue - one in four people have experienced a mental health problem in their lifetime,” Ms Sidey said.
“We are finding a lot of people are benefiting from the service locally, and we encourage more people to feel comfortable enough to approach us.
Ms Sidey said PHaMS workers are friendly and will be helpful, respectful and understanding.
“These people need to know they are not alone, that there is support for them.
“Support from family is important, but people who are having a hard time can also talk to people outside of the family who have experience and knowledge in this area.”