Shire's Indigenous program resilient through COVID-19
Published on 30 July 2020
Throughout COVID-19 Mornington Peninsula Shire is committed to supporting the local community and keeping as many Shire services open as possible.
The Shire’s Balee Group has been no exception with the Indigenous program powering through the pandemic and adapting to keep the service alive.
Supported by Mornington Peninsula Shire and Commonwealth funding, Balee Group is free for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 50 years and over and for people with a disability.
In place of weekly meetings facilitated by the Shire’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community and Access Support Officer during COVID-19, Balee Group members are still receiving support.
Members have received check-in phone calls and home visits where appropriate, information about Community Care Packages and delivered meal provisions to keep people feeling safe and connected.
Mornington Peninsula Shire Mayor Councillor Sam Hearn said, “we are proud to support our indigenous community when they need us the most”.
“As a local council, we have an important role to play in promoting and celebrating Aboriginal cultural heritage, arts and cultures as part of the intrinsic identity and value of the Mornington Peninsula,” said Cr Hearn.
Balee Group takes a holistic approach to enhance the social, emotional, physical and spiritual wellbeing of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community across the Mornington Peninsula.
The program provides a range of activities that promote social connections, enhance individual health and wellbeing and support independent living at home and in the community.
Balee Group’s community-based activities include arts and crafts, cultural and community events and connection to local gathering places.
Monthly art packages have been delivered to group members drawing inspiration from important events such as National Reconciliation Week “In this together” and NAIDOC Week “Always was always will be”.
“The Balee Group is just one of the ways we support and recognise the First People of what is now known as the Mornington Peninsula, the Bunurong/Boon Wurrung People of the Kulin Nation,” said Cr Hearn.
“This pandemic won’t stop us from celebrating and helping our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community,” concluded Cr Hearn.
For more information about the Balee Group visit: mornpen.vic.gov.au/warringinee or contact the group on 5950 1108.
Pictured left to right: Mornington Peninsula Mayor Councillor Sam Hearn, Balee Group member Bob Kelly, Shire Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Access and Support Officer Kerry Fortuyn and Balee Group member Dawn Campbell.