Walking alongside First Nations peoples

Supporting people to have greater control over their lives by working with individuals, families and communities to build their capacity to develop their own solutions to break the cycle of disadvantage.
The Ceduna Community Hub team, SA. Photo: Australian Red Cross

Australian Red Cross acknowledges the traditional Custodians of the lands on which we meet and work. We pay our respects to Elders past and present as well as emerging young leaders. We also acknowledge the cultural authority and continuation of cultural, spiritual and educational practices of First Nations peoples.

A place-based approach

No one knows a community better than the people that live there. That’s why Red Cross approaches our work in communities facing challenges and disadvantage in a place-based way.

This means that we act as a facilitator, bringing together people to address the specific needs of their community. We build on their strengths, capacity and knowledge to enable them to come up with their own solutions.

Place-based work in First Nations communities starts with a partnership built on trust and respect. We empower sustainable, long-term solutions driven by the community, focusing on complex problems to create systemic change. This includes addressing crucial issues such as the health and wellbeing of children and young people, family and community violence, and youth employment and participation.

Red Cross runs dedicated place-based work in 10 identified communities across the country. We have also adopted place-based approaches in other locations, including across all the Northern Territory and through our community development work in Kwinana and Broome, WA.

What does a place-based approach look like?

  • Consulting with the community to establish the main challenges and needs
  • Setting up community hubs to help people connect with each other and support services
  • Engaging with young people to help them access employment and education
  • Providing practical and coordinated support to families
  • Support to overcome barriers to independence, like gaining a driver’s license
  • Helping those involved in the justice system feel empowered to take control of their life

...and so much more!

Red Cross team members, Tiwi Islands. Photo: Australian Red Cross/Aysha Leo

On the ground in the Tiwi Islands, NT

Pupuni ngirramini ngawurtiyarra pirrajirri
(Only good words come from us)

The Tiwi Islands are a 20-minute plane ride from Darwin, where around 3,000 people live across the main two islands. 90% of the population are Tiwi, and almost half are under 30.

Six local Red Cross team members provide support from our centre at Wurrumiyanga on Bathurst Island. It’s become a popular community hub. “It’s doing programs on Country...it’s all about community and working with people,” says Kevin Doolan, our Tiwi Regional Manager. “Our programs need to be positive; they need to be encouraging, they need to connect.”

These programs include:

  • Baby and parent program for mums and dads of zero to three-year-olds. An eight-week program of arts, crafts, dance, music, stories along with nutritional advice, support and coaching for parents.
  • Tiwi Cultural Wellbeing program. Practical community education sessions promoting compassion, self-respect and respect for others.
  • Skin Group Forum. Supporting the revival of kinship groups and working with the community on governance and cultural issues.
  • We also provide support for youth, work with the community on mediation and conflict resolution, and help people to get prepared for emergencies and disasters.
The baby and parent program, Tiwi Islands. Photo: Australian Red Cross/Aysha Leo.

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