Fresh focus on cultural inclusion

March 5, 2021

The Haymarket Foundation’s renowned Bourke Street residential rehabilitation program has a fresh focus on cultural inclusion and safety for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.

Two Aboriginal consultants have carried out an assessment of the Bourke Street Program, which has been operating for 30 years.

The work carried out by the consultants included a two-day workshop to ensure Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders are job ready and cultural awareness training was held for staff.

Recommendations were also made about how to improve referrals to the service and to make the environment and materials more welcoming for this cohort. Artwork is being designed for especially for the service.

Since the start of this grant, the proportion of Aboriginal clients accessing the Bourke Street Program has almost tripled.  These clients will also have a direct voice to management through the creation of a client working group.

Additionally, two Aboriginal staff members, Levii Griffiths and Wil Briggs, were employed to work as case managers in the service.

The gold standard would be a stand-alone service for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, according to the consultants, Felicity Ryan and Robert Monaghan.

“We welcome the findings of this report and are committed to making the Program as inclusive as possible,” says the CEO of the Haymarket Foundation, Peter Valpiani.

“Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander clients are disproportionately represented in the program: and now we have asked for feedback and will make changes to make sure their voices are heard.”

The NGO Sector Development Grants were open to AOD service providers funded by the NSW Ministry of Health to improve access and equity for specific populations and the safety of clients while in treatment. The grant was administered by the Network of Alcohol and other Drugs Agencies (NADA).

Read a story about the impact of the Bourke Street Program here

Photo credit: Joel Pratley