Deadly Table Talk with the Closing the Gap Team – June 2021

Today the Closing the Gap team sat down and had a yarn with Frank, owner of Game Change who specialises in personal training.

We asked Frank how he got involved within the Aboriginal community and he explained, “I have been in the fitness industry for almost 25 years and have been a personal trainer for 15 years. Being in the gym, I could see the difference in lifespan between non Aboriginal people and Aboriginal people. It was very visual.”

Frank started working closely with the Closing the Gap team after receiving community referrals from an Aboriginal Care Coordinator working for Closing the Gap.

Frank told us why he does what he does with the Aboriginal Community, “I love the seeing the results, seeing people’s quality of life improve through fitness, and family coming together to make healthy food choices. I love educating, and seeing people reduce their chronic health issues, lowering medication, weight loss through exercise programs and educational programs aimed at reducing chronic illnesses, that helps clients understand and manage their chronic condition more efficiently.”

Frank first got involved in a weight loss program challenge when he was working closely with the community to support them in the gym with equipment so they were able to attend.

Frank became a part of the New South Wales Health Challenge, Burbaga Burawa which means Rise up or Rise above in Darug language. This was named by Auntie Julie Webb.

The team won the Aboriginal Health Challenge three times out of four challenges and was made up of more than 60 participants split into two teams per challenge.

Frank explained how and who his links were within the community, “Nepean Community & Neighbourhood Services, Closing the Gap team have been extremely helpful with donations and supporting with transport for the teams to do challenges out of the area. Paul Fleming, a local Aboriginal boxer and artist donated items for our presentations. Indigenous players from the NRL and UFC fighters, coming and supporting on event nights. Next Set Gym in St Marys have been amazing with deals and continuation of support for the Aboriginal community after the challenges have finished. All of these people collaborate to address the needs and wants of the community, and consult with board members and myself, to help clients who have chronic illness live healthier lives.”

Frank works closely with the Closing the Gap team to obtain medical and fitness clearance for every client, to make sure they can be a part of the challenge in an achievable and safe way for their health condition.

The Aboriginal community Frank has supported through these programs has been approximately 384 individuals.  2% of chronic illness lowered when exercising was done. This may not seem very high to some, but for the Indigenous community and health, that is amazing!  The feedback from specialists has been hospital administration have been lowered.

The biggest weight loss we have seen has been an Aboriginal male who has lost 44kg over 10 weeks and a female losing 27kg over 10 weeks.

Frank commented, “Working closely with the Closing the Gap team has been one of the biggest highlights!”

To get in contact with the Closing the Gap team please call 02 4706 0299  or email ctg@nepeancommunity.org.au

NAIDOC Cup 2021: A day of culture, connection to country and inclusion

On Friday 18th June NCNS held our 10th annual NAIDOC Cup. The NCNS team were ecstatic that this year we were able to have our NAIDOC Cup event after missing out last year due to COVID-19.

Not only was our team thrilled but on the day, you could feel the excitement as the students and teachers began to arrive to the Hunter Fields early in the morning.

This year our MC was Jie Pittman who belongs to the Darug, Wiradjuri, Yuin, Kooma & Ngemba Nations, a man who is committed to sharing culture with Western Sydney communities and has done so for over 20 years. Jie runs our Nations in Cultural Exchange (NICE) group at Kooly and this year he elevated our event with his knowledge of culture and his entertaining personality!

One of the wonderful elements at this year at NAIDOC cup was the sand circle that we created in the middle of the field. The sand circle represents a Corroboree. It is a ceremonial meeting of Australian Aboriginals, where people interact with the Dreamtime through music, costume and dance. This is sacred.

At the beginning of the day all of the students gathered around the sand circle. This was an incredible sight to see. Uncle Greg welcomed everyone to country.

The students were then lead into a cleansing dance. The cleansing dance was about getting rid of any negative energy and spirits that were not welcomed. The cleansing dance cleanses you and the things you cannot see.

Next was the smoking ceremony where the students were invited to go through the smoke.

Jessy Currie from Nulungu Dreaming, who facilitates our Kooly Deadly Kids Dance Group taught the children about the didge, where it originates from, and the different animal noises he can make with it. He also showcased the dances he was taught from his country.

NCNS Program Manager, Aboriginal & Youth Projects, Bronwyn explained, “Having all the students gather in the circle was a highlight for me. Whilst we were watching the dancing, the girls would ask me if I could paint their face, so they could ‘look’ Aboriginal too! Even though they already are! It was also great to see some young males playing netball this year.”

After the welcoming ceremony, students separated, with the older students moving on to their netball and Oz Tag competitions while the younger students, the Joeys, moved onto their rotations of Aboriginal cultural activities including didge and dance, traditional Indigenous games, as well as cultural art and craft.

At the art and craft activity, Joeys enjoyed painting a door hanger lizard, decorating a pendant and a sticks and serpents (snakes & ladders) colouring sheet.

The traditional Indigenous games that were played on the day included Wana, Juluhya, Kolap and Mer Kolap.

Wana is when players use an underarm through to hit a target that is defended by a person with a wana (bat).

Kolap refers to the beans of the Kolap tree – the throwing objects. objects (kolaps) are thrown onto a target such as a mat. Players work in teams of two aiming to reach a set score.

Mer Kolap is a game where players work in teams to throw objects towards a designated target.

Juluhya means ‘to go down’ in the Bundjalung language. Players work together to roll a ball down a tube.

These games were played with the Joey’s so that they could experience some sporting activities on the day.

NCNS Aboriginal Project Worker, Zach enjoyed watching the students racing each to see who would come first!

The parachute game was a hit with the little ones. The Joeys loved throwing the balls up in the air and watching them go down the middle of the parachute.

Once the netball & Oz Tag Competitions were finished the winners were announced and were presented with a trophy.

 


Congratulations to Cambridge Gardens who won the Netball competition and to Penrith Public School for winning the Oz Tag Competition.

 

Before the end of the day, all of the students gathered once again around the sand circle for the closing ceremony and were invited into the circle for a good bye dance! We loved seeing the kids really let loose and showing us all their best dance moves! You could really tell that all of the students felt proud of their culture.

We loved receiving such positive feedback after the day. Tracy from the Primary Health Network told us that “The day was amazing! Not just the beautiful welcome ceremony and how much fun the kids were having but also the opportunity to catch up with people I hadn’t seen for a long time. The day had a wonderful sense of community.”

Amanda, Teacher from Mulgoa Public School explained, “The students and their families as well as the teachers, had a wonderful day of culture, connection to country and inclusion. The focus on the needs of all of the students present was very noticeable. A wonderful highlight of the day for our male students was just before the final ceremony, when they were practising throwing their boomerangs on the field and a couple of high school boys/volunteers on the day randomly went over and showed them the proper technique. The smile on our boy’s faces was priceless. “

We would like to thank our sponsors; JK Williams, Westfield Centre Management, Wentworth Healthcare – providers of the Nepean Blue Mountains Primary Health Network, Uniting LAC, Connect Child & Family Services and Penrith City Council.

Thank you to all of the volunteers who helped us on the day from the above mentioned organisations, from the Emu Plains Lions Club, community volunteers and high school students.

We are looking forward to seeing you all again next year!

Shout out to our Volunteers!

Volunteers may not make the world go ‘round, but they sure do make a massive difference to our work, our workers and the community.

Let’s face it, while we are ever grateful for our funding bodies, funding only covers the bare minimum. With an increasing level of need, and more demands than ever being put on our workers, our volunteers are invaluable.

Not only do they help us get the work done, but they help our workers’ mental and physical health, and they enable us to be more effective in our work. Volunteers can create the difference between a healthy workplace and one struggling against burn out. They help us put our vision for making a real difference in the community into action.

Not only that – we LOVE having them around! The wonderful people that spend their time helping NCNS and the community are without a doubt, the kindest, friendliest, and most supportive people we know – and as an added bonus, they are so much fun to be around.

We’d like to introduce you to a few of our never-tiring volunteers that help us with Breakfast Club.

This is Beryl and Linsey. They help us make sandwiches for our Breakfast Club each week – providing breakfast and lunch for more than 300 students each week. That’s almost 600 sandwiches every week!

Emelita slices all of the cheese for the sandwiches! That’s a LOT of cheese.

Lenore is our Breakfast Club queen – helping to set up Brekky club, cooking toasties, greeting and chatting with students, and cleaning up the mess.

But wait, there’s more. These ladies not only help with Breakfast Club, many of them (plus others) are part of the NCNS Collective Communities Action Group, who create, organise and donate many items for the community – from bibs to blankets, from library bags to survival packs. The people they help range from school students, young pregnant mums and vulnerable community members, to children and women in DV situations. This group is making a difference to so many lives – all off their own bat.

We would like to express our enormous gratitude for all those people that volunteer their time to help others – but especially NCNS’s tribe of volunteers, who we have the pleasure of knowing and working with, and who make such a difference for NCNS workers.

If you’re interested in joining the NCNS Collective Community Action Group, please call Justine on 02 4729 0442.

 

Baby items and information at Baby Expo at Cranebrook Neighbourhood Centre

Our Baby Expo event at Cranebrook Neighbourhood Centre was fortunately able to go ahead on Thursday 24th June in a safe, fun and relaxed environment before the lockdown!

Parents were able to come along with their kids, with plenty of things to keep them entertained while parents browsed the stalls we had available on the day which included Deb Muir Photography – Newborn Photographer, Twinkle Toes (feet and hand moulds), local homemade clothing from Bangoon Baby, Kanga Training, Early childhood services from Penrith City Council, Collective Community Action Group and NCNS Playgroups.

Families were able to discuss and receive information in goody bags about options, services available and child development, pre and post baby.

They also had the opportunity to find out the options for leaving your child in care and the benefits of you and your child joining playgroups and participating in community events.

Our generous and hardworking Collective Community Action Group volunteers supplied us with many beautiful items for families to take away.

Our students made the best playdough giveaways ever! Families also won lucky door prizes!

To find out more about NCNS playgroups Click here

To find out about NCNS Parenting Programs – Click here

To find out about Community Groups – Click here

Or email info@nepeancommunity.org.au

Deadly Table Talk with the Closing the Gap Team – May 2021

Welcome to our 1st Deadly Table Talk with the Closing the Gap team. The team feel privileged to have the opportunity to bring the stories of the people they work with, their families and the community and their chronic illness journeys.

Today, Aboriginal Outreach Workers, Kell and Tre and Care Coordinator, Paddy went to have a yarn with Closing the Gap client, Michelle.

Michelle, local resident who grew up in Penrith, was sadly diagnosed with cancer in 2017, and was given bad news about her life expectancy. Michelle was then referred to the Closing the Gap team via the Nepean Cancer Clinic.

Aboriginal Outreach Worker,  Kelli-Lee explained, “When this referral came through to the team at our weekly allocation, there was a sense of great sadness and silence within the team. This client was dependant on alcohol and had other medical conditions that were still very fresh and untreated.

Care Coordinator, Sara jumped straight onto this referral taking Michelle on as her client, and I was given the Outreach. While working with Michelle, we spent many days, weeks, nights and months, along with other medical staff, supporting and walking Michelle’s journey undergoing operations, chemotherapy, radiation treatments and weekly GP Clinic appointments. During this time Michelle went cold turkey and was able to give up alcohol and has now been cancer free for 4 years!

Michelle asked our team to help her find her mob, so we were able to connect Michelle to Link up and due to this, Michelle has since been reconnected to her mob. Michelle was able to go back home to see her country and meet her mob back in Moree.”

Michelle tells us of the trip back to country and her meeting with Uncle Paul Spearin. “Walking on Country, I felt a sense of healing in my body after walking to the local areas waterhole. I was able to visit the sacred scar tree on Mungindi Mission. My nephew and I sat around with Uncle Paul to discuss our family tree.”

To contact to Closing the Gap team, please call 02 4706 0299 or email ctg@nepeancommunity.org.au

New parents make connections at the NYPS Sassy Young Mums Reunion

On the 17th May, NCNS held a Sassy Young Mums Reunion for our Nepean Young Pregnancy Support (NYPS) mums who have now had their babies and who wanted to catch up, share their experiences and hopefully meet new and old friends.

The reunion was held at Thornton Community Centre in Penrith, with various activities for babies, and toddlers, Penrith City Council Playvan, coffee van and breakfast.

Thank you to Catherine from the Penrith City Council Mobile Playvan!

The huge ball pit was a massive hit with the little ones!

Amy, NCNS Early Childhood Worker, and Justine, NCNS Community development worker, worked together to create a safe, welcoming space, that not only provided tons of fun activities for the kiddos, but a perfect opportunity for young mums and Dad’s to connect.

Mata from Centrelink mingled with the families, providing advice on the spot, and we also had a visit from the SIDS Foundation, talking to parents about safe sleeping habits.

When asked what their favourite part of the day was, Julie, NCNS Operations Manager replied, “Seeing the families playing with their children and looking after each other’s children; seeing young parents connect with each other and having conversations about their kids, their lives, their challenges and their absolutely adoration of their babies; seeing the babies playing together, exploring and having an amazing time, and of course the cuddles!

To view the gallery of the Sassy Young Mums reunion, click here.

To find out more information about NYPS, please contact Amy on 02 4729 0442 or email info@nepeancommunity.org.au

Feel good stories from our Functional Family Therapy team

Functional Family Therapy (FFT)  have been engaging is some great work helping families in the community become stronger. The Department of Communities and Justice (DCJ) were so impressed with the family’s progress after working with FFT they closed the family’s case. The family had been through much adversity with Mum being a survivor of severe Domestic Violence, childhood abuse and in recovery from substances.  The FFT worker was able to connect well with Mum and the children who elected to continue with FFT sessions even after the family went through a significant tragedy in the middle of therapy. Mum was able to begin to build a foundation to improve her self-esteem and then was able to help her children to start to do the same. Mum gained the confidence she needed in her parenting ability that enabled her to put boundaries in place to help keep her children safe. Mum had not typically engaged with services in the past and due to the positive experience, she had with the therapist Mum accepted the FFT referrals provided to her for further support services in the home after the completion of therapy.

Quote form DCJ Caseworker; Thanks so much for the groundwork you have done to get Mum to this point of understanding and confidence. Mum has really connected with you and takes on board the discussion you have had”. 

By Sara, Family Therapist – FFT-CW

 

Working in FFT is always different. You see different families with different configurations, different strengths and struggles, and different ways of coping.

Over the past year, FFT has had the opportunity to work with a couple in their early 20’s, who accepted the care of a relative who was in her early teens. Their family changed overnight from being a young couple to carers of a young person. That was a big change for them and FFT was brought in to help them to smooth out some of the bumps that would inevitably arise.

The young couple were incredibly intelligent and attuned to what their young person needed, but having never been parents before, they needed support to understand their young person’s behaviours and how this impacted them individually and as a family. They were also given parenting tips and tools.

One of the tools that has been most helpful is to Press PAUSE during moments of conflict and take some time to take deep, slow breaths to calm down. Once calm they can have a discussion and come to an agreement about how to move forward. The young couple also found it helpful to have a therapist who could normalise their experience of parenting teens.

The young person now attends NCNS’ Youth Program and the cultural activities at Koolyangarra Aboriginal Child and Family Centre. When FFT was completed, the family transitioned to NCNS’ Casuarina Aboriginal Family Project for further therapeutic support.

By Narelle, Family Therapist – FFT-CW

Get to know our Cranebrook Neighbourhood Centre this Neighbourhood Centre’s Week

This Neighbourhood Centre’s Week we thought there would be no better way to celebrate than with a lovely chilled event at our Cranebrook Neighbourhood Centre, where attendees got a tour of our Breakfast Club and Neighbourhood Centre, free morning tea and coffee, kids activities and craft, Internet Café Launch and a chance to win a $100 voucher!

The kids were having so much fun, while the adults had a great chat and catch up. We had the pleasure of seeing old faces, new faces, new connections and lots of laughter throughout the centre.

Cranebrook Neighbourhood Centre is where our Communities & Children team are based, made up of our Community Development Workers and Child & Family Workers.

Cranebrook Neighbourhood Centre is well known for its Breakfast Club that provides free breakfast to primary and secondary students every school day.

This centre has a community library, sewing machine, phone, computer and internet access.

Other activities run from this centre are:
◾Braddock Playtime Playgroup – Enjoy Craft, indoor and outdoor activities, singing and stories and much more with your child.
◾Go4Fun – A healthy lifestyle program for children aged 7 – 13 who are above a healthy weight,& their families.
◾Make Time Women’s Group – Enjoy, a coffee, chat and make new friends & enjoy various activities in a friendly atmosphere.
◾Cranebrook Kids – Free afternoon activities including art, outdoor ninja course, and games for primary aged students in Cranebrook.

◾Collective Community Action Group – A fun, social, multi-generational group that looks at community needs & supports.

To contact our Cranebrook Neighbourhood Centre please call 02 4729 0442.

Click here for all of our Community Programs.

Click her for all of our Child & Family Programs.

 

We appreciate all Mothers, Grandmothers, Carers Aunties and Elders this Mothers Day.

On Thursday 6th of May, the parents and children from the Braddock Playtime Playgroup at Cranebrook celebrated Mother’s Day. NCNS, Community Worker, Nada explained, “We focused on honouring the mother of the family or the individual, as well as motherhood, maternal bonds and the influence of mothers in society. We celebrated not only our own mothers but our grandmothers, carers, aunties and elders who have influence in our children’s lives. The children decorated photo frames and took pictures with their mothers and shared a lovely morning tea with them.  During the playgroup, we shared stories bout how the women in our lives have impacted us and their ongoing support, words of wisdom and ever lasting love that shelters us from the fast paced steps of life.”

Check out our Mother’s Day gallery below:

Aboriginal Men’s group enjoy camping trip thanks to Aboriginal Affairs

On Thursday 25th March, our Aboriginal Men’s group went on a camping trip. This was a partnership between Western Sydney Aboriginal Men’s Group and NCNS with funding from Aboriginal Affairs. Bob Gordon – Western Sydney Aboriginal Men’s Group, Zach Nuttall – NCNS Aboriginal Project Worker and local Aboriginal man Dennis went and picked up the men from their houses and made their way down to Eden.

The men travelled to Eden to be on Country and to pay respects to one of their founding members. During the trip down to Eden, the men enjoyed listening to music, and a few of them caught up on some sleep. The men were amused during the ride as every time Greg would ask for a smoke break, they would hit a bit of roadwork, meaning they had to slow down and it would take longer for them to get their break! Greg was not impressed!

When the men got to Eden they unpacked and chilled for the remainder of the day. Bob cooked the men Silverside and sausages for dinner later that night. During the trip the men enjoyed cultural activities and yarn time on the beach, fishing and barbeques.

On the Friday, the men were taken into town to go fishing and also for a little walk to the lookout. Andrew was the only one to catch a couple of fish but threw them back in. They then enjoyed fish and chips for lunch.

The next day, the men went down to the beach, to have another go at fishing and also for a bush walk. That night they all went to the local pub, Great Southern Hotel in Eden for dinner, before going back to their cabins and having a yarn.

Sunday 28th March, the men got up early to make their way back to Penrith stopping at McDonalds for breakfast.

The weather was great and it was wonderful to get out of Sydney and onto country. The men from the group had an awesome time, they really enjoyed themselves and said that they would like to do more camps in the future. They especially enjoyed having each other’s company during the trip.

Zach Nuttall, NCNS Aboriginal Project Worker chuckled, “My favourite part of the trip was when we went for a bush walk and there were Kangaroos right next to us, I ran being scared thinking it was coming after me! I found that pretty funny and so did the other men there watching! Haha”

Our Aboriginal Men’s Group meets at Kooly on Wednesdays fornightly. If you would like to come along or would like some more information about this group, please call 02 4706 0280.

Action Packed School Holiday Program sees youth show determination and resilience

What an action packed School Holiday Program the NCNS Youth team had this April! With nearly 12 young people attending every day of the program. We were blessed with the weather and were mostly not affected by the rain.

Our first day of the program was a trip to Burns Obstacle Course (Ninja Warrior Outing). All of us had an amazing time and the staff there were always so welcoming. This was one of my favourite outings!

Generally in my experience young people  will push themselves to succeed at certain obstacles.

Young people gave each other support and you could see that they genuinely wanted the other youth to succeed. The young people who attended this day should be proud of themselves, many who displayed determination and resilience, skills they can use in all aspects of life.

 

The following day we took it easy at Umina Beach. Young people enjoyed the water, relaxed on the sand, in the sun and enjoyed each other’s company.

Next was Somersby Waterfalls.

Initially I was a bit unsure about this outing and how it would go with the young people but turns out we had a ball climbing underneath the waterfall and exploring the area!

For many of us that was the first time we had ever been under a waterfall, myself included. This was a wonderful experience to share with the young people in the program.

After a big week of outings, it was nice to chill out and enjoy our chilled Movie Night. We ate pizza and snacks while enjoying a classic, Happy Gilmore! Life couldn’t get any better and everyone had a great laugh.

On Monday 12th April, we took the young people to the Easter Show! For many of them  it was their first time attending the Easter Show. I loved hearing their stories of the rides they went on, the showbags they bought and the shows they enjoyed watching.

After a big day at the Easter Show, we thought there would be nothing better than going to Ryde Aquatic Leisure Centre, where the youth could enjoy the cool water, the wave pool and playing their customary game of Marco Polo. They also found it quite amusing jumping all over me and trying to dunk me! Haha

Another chill day was great to just wind down.

Playing PS4 and Coup (card game), the young people also got to enjoy pancakes from the pancake van provided by Platform Youth Services. They were delicious and are thankful for our ongoing partnership with them.

The NCNS Youth School Holiday Program finished with a day out to Code Red Laser Tag. We had an amazing time working in teams and at times individuals. I am always amazed as how inclusive the young people can be.

As a youth worker, I feel blessed to know these great young people. They are truly respectful and I personally trust each and every individual. They have a great sense of humour and are so willing to share their lives with us. It is a true privilege. These amazing young people have the ability to achieve in whatever path they choose.

To get in contact with the NCNS Youth team please call 02 4706 0288.

Our diversity and differences is what creates stronger communities

Harmony Week is a time to celebrate Australian multiculturalism. It is about inclusiveness, respect and belonging for all Australians. On the 31st March we had our wonderful event at St Marys Memorial Hall. We were all gathered to celebrate Harmony Day 2021.

NCNS is an active part of the Penrith Multicultural Interagency as we believe it is our diversity and differences that creates stronger communities. This event had a committee of over 10 services in the Penrith City area that have their time to support the organisation of this event.

The event was open with a Welcome to Country by Mitchell Beggs-Mowczan, Harmony Day ambassador.

We were also grateful to Penrith City Council Mayor Karen McKeown who gave a heart fulfilled speech explaining that since 2008, Penrith City has been a refugee welcome zone. We are one of the fast growing multicultural LGA welcoming citizens from all over the world.

With an amazing turn out of over 150 people we had countless cultural backgrounds represented. We had amazing performances that took us around the world from Asia to the Pacific Islands. St Marys Japanese community entertained the audience with a beautiful dance routine which was performed by some of our youngest ever dancers.

The Maltese community got everyone clapping with interactive line dancing, followed by a high energy belly dancer.

The Tokelau dancer captivated the audience with their beautiful dance and song paying their respects to their elders, the lands and the waters of their people.

Overall this event was a great way of uniting the communities after the struggles that we have faced over the past year. The spirit of community was alive and well making this Harmony Day one of the best we have so far.

New Young Parents Group Sees Parents Support parents while babies explore and discover

NCNS has run Nepean Young Pregnancy Support (NYPS) group in partnership with the Penrith Women’s Health Centre for many years.  NYPS is a group specifically for young pregnant women 25 years and under, created to overcome the stigma that can be associated with being a young parent, and reduce the barriers to seeking support in a safe, friendly and non-judgemental environment. NYPS is social with lots of stuff that you need to know about, and connects you to anything you need help with – housing, relationships, health and more. This group is a great support system for pregnant young mothers & their partners however there was a gap in continued support of these young mums once they had given birth to their babies. (Although many still return to NYPS to show off their beautiful babies once they are born!)

For this reason, this year we launched our new support group for young parents, Young Parents Support and Baby Care. This group was formed as a continuation after NYPS and welcomes all new young parents in the Penrith area. During Term 1, Young Parents and Baby Care met at Thornton Community Centre where parents benefited from guest services, information, early intervention avenues, and referrals to appropriate services. Young Parents Support and Baby Care provides a nurturing space to discuss and share the realities of being new parents. It also helps parents form positive relationships with services and other young parents in their area.

Both Mums and Dads come along to play, enjoy morning tea as well as participate in informal, and formal workshops and networking. Parents have discussions and information sessions in relation to starting solid food, depression and anxiety with parenting, as well as benefits of playtime and interactions with your baby.

The group has really come together and it has been fantastic to see parents helping each other.

Justine Reynolds, NCNS Community Development Worker, explained, “The most enjoyable aspect has been watching the new babies explore and discover!

Some of the new experiences babies have had during this group include:

Meeting other little babies

The ball pit, bubbles and parachute play.

After a good 2 hours of play, it is time for a nap!”

We hope to have services join us next term to share their expertise.

If you are interested in attending the Young Parents Support and Baby Care group, or would like some more information, please contact Justine on 02 4729 0442.

How we celebrated women this International Women’s Day

NCNS celebrated International Women’s Day during a morning tea with the Cranebrook Make Time Women’s Group and as a part of the Nepean Women Present project which was sponsored by Penrith Women’s Health Centre and Penrith City Council.

The amazing women from our Aboriginal Women’s group Koori Cuppa  designed and painted a mesmerising painting that represented their individual strengths as women.

This painting represents sacred lands, a meeting place for women of country to reflect on their journeys with the flow of water running through. The painting was created by Robyn Large, Cheryl Dodds, Morrisa Hita, Donna Large and Bridgette Hanlon

The artwork was launched at Penrith City Library and will be on display till the end of March.

Donna Large was captivating with her explanation of the artwork in front a room full of people. Well Done Donna for having the courage to share your story with the community!

 

 

 

Kooly kids dance group gives deadly performance at Aboriginal Eel Festival

Our Kooly Deadly Kids Dance group facilitated by Jessy from Nulungu Dreaming were invited to perform at the Eel Festival in Parramatta on the 7th March 2021.

The name ‘Parramatta’ is commonly translated to ‘the place where the eels lie down.’ The Eel Festival celebrates the Eel and its significance to the local Barramuttagal people, who would gather in autumn to trade goods and share stories. This festival is about learning, engaging with, and celebrating Aboriginal Culture. The day also included boomerang painting, weaving, Darug language workshops and a live eel display.

The dancers from our deadly dance group were very excited as for some this was there very first performance. The day started with an Acknowledgement to Country by Jessy who then shared some of his own stories, followed by a smoking ceremony performed by Uncle Wes.

We were so proud of our dance group who provided an incredible performance. Once the kids had performed, our Aboriginal Community Worker, Jen took the group to look around at Aboriginal artifacts and traditional Aboriginal homewares. The group listened to beautiful dreamtime stories by Uncle Wes before it was time to go home.

The dancers told us that their favourite part of the day was learning more about  Aboriginal culture and listening to the dreamtime stories.

If you would like to find out more about the Kooly Deadly Kids Dance group, please call Jen on 02 4706 0280.

We hope you enjoy watching some of Kooly Deadly Kids Dance group performance at the Eel Festival below:

Community Kids Clean up Community Centres for Clean Up Australia Day

During the week of the 1st  March to 5th March 2021, our young members of the NCNS community helped clean the environment around their local community centres.

The children enjoyed the task and were very proficient in discussing the benefits of keeping our community, environments clean.

The children took great pride it the amount of rubbish they collected and were disgusted in the amount of waste and how far it travels.

During brekky club the children completed  a huge clean up alongside activities and games which were all related to care of the environment.

KP Kids and Cranebrook Kids also as part of their afternoon fun activities assisted with the clean -up.

All together across the week the children collected 9 huge bags of rubbish. Thanks to clean up Australia day campaign for all the safety equipment and bags.

The most positive thing is that the children have continued on caring for their environment in the community.

All NCNS workers were inspired by the children’s enthusiasm and care being shown.

Ladies get free hearing checks for world hearing day thanks to Hearing Australia

World Hearing Day is held on the 3rd of March each year to raise awareness on how to prevent deafness and hearing loss, and to promote ear and hearing care across the world.

This year NCNS partnered with Hearing Australia to conduct hearing checks on the ladies from our Make Time Women’s Group to support and encourage healthy ears.

Hearing Australia ‘are the nation’s largest provider of government-funded hearing services for children, young adults under 26, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, pensioners and veterans.’

With the world facing the Covid-19 Pandemic, hearing is more important than ever, with many people unable to visit friends and families, interstate or overseas, so many of us are now connecting via phone and video.

Hearing loss can make it difficult to hear your speech. The 2 most common causes of hearing loss are age and exposure to loud noise.

Hearing Australia states signs of hearing loss include:
– Asking people to repeat themselves
– Your family complaining the TV Volume is up too loud
– Ringing buzzing sound in your ears
– Straining to hear
– Missing out on every day sounds

10 women from our Make Time Women’s Group had their hearing checked with Sara from Hearing Australia. The test conducted was an initial hearing test that identified whether the ladies were hearing all the sounds played in the normal hearing range.

If they were able to hear all of these sounds, it was a great result and they were told to come back in 12 months to be tested again. If they were unable to hear all of the sounds, they would be advised to go in to Hearing Australia for a full hearing assessment with one of their audiologist to run a more extensive test in all areas of the hearing range.

Hearing loss can sometimes be hard to detect as it happens gradually over time. Hearing Australia states that, ‘The average Australian takes 7 years to get their hearing tested’ and ‘14.5% of the population currently experience hearing loss.

It is twice as likely to have hearing loss if you have diabetes and not many people are aware of this. Check out the Diabetes and Hearing Loss flyer for more information about this.

If you suspect a family member, friend or yourself may be suffering from hearing loss, you can try Hearing Australia’s Online Hearing Check which contains a few short questions and a 10 minute audio test.

If you are a pensioner, please contact Sara Garner from Hearing Australia to arrange a free hearing check.

If you would like to have your hearing assessed pleased contacted Sara Gardner to book in an appointment. Her contact details are as follow:

Sara Gardener – Community Hearing Advisor, Campbelltown, Penrith & Springwood
Phone: 02 4720 3400 or 0417 021 328
Email: Sara.gardner@hearing.com.au
Location: Shop 7, 140 Henry Street, Penrith NSW 2750

 

 

 

Source: https://www.hearing.com.au/

 

Children’s Fun Day

The Kingswood Park Kids Fun Day was held during the Christmas School Holidays as part of a Kingswood Park Kids Collective Community Grant established prior to COVID-19. The children held meetings and planning sessions, they learnt how to budget and look at the safety aspects of holding an event. Alongside these skills they began to realise the importance of negotiation and inclusion, often working through a long session of working out ways to make the groups majority apply.

It was a great catch up with the children and families in the local area after the Christmas break. After what had been a very disruptive year and often very confusing for children, they all enjoyed letting their hair down and having some fun whilst still being COVID-19 friendly.

NCNS put on some really fun and often messy play activities. The children’s favourite activities were Pie Face and making their own batch of slime. They also enjoyed Fortnite, Monopoly, ball games, art and craft and cake decorating were also throughout the day. The group is looking forward to more fun days in the future.

Check out the photos below!

Bra Gifting Days are helping women and girls receive extra support

This term, the NCNS Community Development team hosted two Bra Gifting Days thanks to Support the Girls Australia. Support the Girls Australia began due to CEO, Jane Holmes having a chance encounter with a dishevelled and malnourished 13 year old girl at a shopping mall, who had asked Jane if she had spare sanitary products she could give to her.  Jane of course, supplied the sanitary products and bought the young girl lunch, and listened to this girls story. Jane found out that the young girl had run away from home due to being sexually abused by her step father and had since been on the streets. When the girl showed Jane where she was living, Jane also met a weather beaten elderly women who had not owned a bra for 4 years and who showed Jane her severely infected breast tissue as a result of this.

After these two encounters, Jane spent a month researching available services that would support women with these issues and could not find one single Australian Service. Jane left her paid job to create a charity that would give disadvantaged women and girls access to underwear, toiletries and sanitary products.

Support the Girls Bra Gifting Days are all about empowering women with dignity and respect. The days provide women with bras, underwear, toiletries and menstrual hygiene products, encouraging a sense of self-worth and self-care. An important part of these Bra Gifting Days, is to connect with women face to face as many women of the women who attend are socially isolated for various different reasons. These events are great for women to meet other women like themselves.

NCNS Program Manager – Communities & Children, Robert Servine, first found out about Support the Girls Australia, while working at a previous role. Robert was working with a client who was a teenage girl who had not been taught about personal hygiene so was looking for a service that could teach her how to look after herself. Robert contacted CEO Jane Holmes and then connected with Maggie, the NSW Coordinator for Support the Girls.

Robert explained, “Support the Girls is a unique charity that fills a need in the community that no one else does. I knew the need was there, so we were thrilled to be able to host these Bra Gifting Days at our Cranebrook Neighbourhood Centre, to help fill this need and to empower women in our local community.”

Both events went incredibly well. The first event was for girls and 14 high school girls were properly fitted and ensured they had bras to start the school year. The second event on Wednesday 10th February was open to women of all ages, and we had 32 women receiving a proper bra fitting and bras to take home with them.  The Support the Girls volunteers were amazing. For the Back to School Event, they provided 6 volunteers and for the community event they provided 9 volunteers, alongside 2 bra fitters at each event. Hygiene products along with a lot of information were also provided to those who attended.

The community feedback has been extremely positive. Everyone left these events smiling.  Maggie told us that a few ladies told her how much this experience has helped them. One of the ladies has 14 grandchildren, that she helps to look after and has not had any time to look after herself. She only had one bra and it did not fit correctly. Another lady did not have any bras because she could not afford one, so she was so grateful to walk away with properly fitted bras.

The community response was incredible with our community event completely booked out and had a waiting list of 14 people. For this reason, the NCNS Communities team are now planning to do a Bra Gifting Day quarterly, moving forward with the next event this June 2021.

If you would like to get in contact with the NCNS Communities team please call 02 4729 0442 or email info@nepeancommunity.org.au

More than a word, a reflection on the Apology

Today is the 13th Anniversary of the National Apology to the stolen generations by Prime Minister Kevin Rudd.  2021 is also the 20th anniversary for Reconciliation Australia. This years theme for Reconciliation Week is ‘More than a word: Reconciliation takes action.’ This means that we need more Australians to speak up, speak the truth, ask the hard questions and see the hard facts.

The Anniversary of the Apology and this year’s Reconciliation Week theme made me think about how far we have come and how far we still need to go, to become a reconciled Australia. As a non-Aboriginal Australian growing up in Australia, at school, when I was taught about the history of colonisation, they minimised and completely skipped over the traumatic experiences that Aboriginal people suffered. It was not until I worked for NCNS, alongside my Aboriginal colleagues and listened to their stories, and participated in cultural training, that I really got an understanding of the truth about Australia’s history and it was shocking. I could not believe that this information had been simply ‘left out’ of our education.

Since then, it has been really important to me to stand up, challenge stereotypes & mistruths that people around me might have and/or ignorant comments that they may say, to try and re-educate and open their minds as just like my younger self, many of my non-Aboriginal friends & family have been oblivious to the truth.

Although the road to reconciliation has been slow, I have hope that we can get there.

I remember having a heated discussion, a few years ago where I argued with a friend who had a strong belief in his own assumptions about Aboriginal people, the truth about Australia’s history of colonisation, and little empathy for our first nations past experiences at the hands of our government. I tried to explain to them what I had learnt from my Aboriginal colleagues and cultural training but we had to agree to disagree as we could not see eye to eye.

A few weeks ago, I was approached by this same friend, who came to tell me that all of their assumptions had shifted due to working closely with Aboriginal colleagues who had opened up their mind and shared their experiences, Aboriginal culture, and views. They told me how they now had a much better understanding of Aboriginal culture and that they thought their Aboriginal colleagues were amazing people and how they loved the way that their Aboriginal colleagues saw the world. I was so happy to see that someone who had thought so strongly one way, could have such a big change of heart.

This may seem like a small feat, but it is these small moments that can lead to real change.

As non-Indigenous Australians, it is our responsibility to educate ourselves about the truth of Australia’s history, ask questions and listen to our first nations people who have lived here for over 65,000 years.

It is important to remember the Apology each year, so we can keep this fresh in our minds and work towards reconciliation every day through our thoughts, words and actions.

School Holiday Program January 2021

The NCNS Youth School Holiday Program is a great way for young people to meet new people in a safe, respectful environment. The young people are so accepting of new people. Participants get to indulge in new experiences, at times, push their barriers, fears and comfort zones in a supportive environment (workers included!) It is a priceless moment when a young person recognises what they have achieved!

Januarys NCNS Youth School Holiday Program kicked off with a day at Ryde Aquatic Leisure Centre, which most of the young people attending had never been to before. In fact, most of this program’s outings were new for this group of youth. It was a wonderful way to start the program, swimming, going down the slide and having a fantastic time in the wave pool. All attendees were respectful of the area, each other and NCNS Youth Workers, Sami and Joe. The day had a chilled vibe with everyone being inclusive of each other and this vibe continued throughout the entire School Holiday Program.

On Day 2, everyone went off to Don Bosco, where they played pool, jumped on trampolines (a highlight of the day for many)and a few of us also played round the world on the basketball courts.

After two active days, the group enjoyed a chill day at the NCNS Youth Hub where they relaxed playing PlayStation and an intense game of Monopoly. It was a great day to catch up, hang out and have a yarn.

The highlight for the first week of the School Holiday Program was day 4 at the Penrith Ice Palace. Some of the young people there had never tried ice skating before. Throughout the day there was a huge amount of encouragement from each other to achieve. One of the youth commented, “If you fall, you just get back up!” Joe exclaimed, “I was so proud of that comment and the support that the young people gave each other during the day.” We had an additional friend that day, ‘Pingu the Penguin’ to help us out.

To begin to second week of the program, the group went on a trip to Fagan Park, in Galston. Fagan Park has a series of themed gardens around it that are exciting to explore. They spent the day walking around the park, exploring the gardens, playing cricket, playing on the equipment and just chilling out in the sunshine before having a delicious barbeque lunch and then heading home.

The following day was an action packed day at Jamberoo. The crew set off early, with some young people playing music during the journey to keep everyone entertained during the long drive. As soon as we arrived, everyone raced off so they could try and fit in as many rides as they could before lunch, only coming back to eat, a quick chat and then off again. During the day, many had the chance to face their fears by going on scary rides, going down the bob sled track and jumping off the massive rock. This included Youth Worker, Joe who went on the chair lift with support of the young people.

Everyone had a blast but by the end of the day the group was absolutely exhausted and most fell asleep of the way home.

Day 7, the youth group attended our Summer Lunch, a community day based at Kooly with a huge day of activities. There was a Slip ‘N Slide, cookie decorating, terrarium building as well as PlayStation, card and board games. The youth spent most of the day mucking around, chatting and playing Magic the Gathering.

The youth team finished off the School Holiday Program with their traditional movie night. You cannot beat it! They watched How to Train Your Dragon 3 while enjoying pizza for dinner. Joe laughed, “You would be surprised but every movie night, for some reason, Frozen is mentioned, however we never actually watch it!”

NCNS Youth Worker, Sami, expressed, “My highlight this program was when the young people were teaching me how to play Magic the Gathering. It’s been something I have been wanting to learn for a while and I was privileged to have such patient teachers!”

When I asked NCNS Youth Work Joe, he answered, “My highlight was simply watching all the young people engage with each other and be so inclusive to all”

Our Youth Team are looking forward to the next School Holiday Program in April 2021. We are hoping to get back to full capacity of 16 young people depending on COVID restrictions. We also encourage young people to come along and check out the NCNS Youth Hub Drop In on Monday and Wednesday afternoons from 3pm – 5pm at Cranebrook Youth Hub.

To get in contact with our youth team call  02 4706 0288 or contact Joe on 0417 498 918 or Sami on 0408 586 797.

We have a bunch of fun at Summer Lunch

This year we held our annual Summer Lunch in January at Kooly to welcome the community back into our centre after our much needed Christmas & New Year break. 2020 was a crazy year for all of us so it was especially great to be able to start of the year with a small gathering with our community to catch up and reconnect with them.

Although it was a cold, rainy day, the children, young people and families got to participate in a range of activities. They loved the Aboriginal rock painting using earth tones, and telling a story through paint.

They decorated cookies using individual icing pens, peals and sprinkles.

They also created mason jar terrariums using succulents, soils, stones, sand and shells. This activity was a huge hit with all the children and adults!  They  really loved doing the succulent terrarium activity, saying that it was relaxing and they were really excited that they were able to take it home with them.

The children made different shapes and animals using their imagination and playdough.

Even with the cold, rainy weather we had a couple of children, along with NCNS Youth Worker, Joe, who dared to go on the Slip ‘N Slide and had a wet and wild time.

Not only did we all have a wonderful time participating in activities together, we also shared a delicious roast chicken for lunch, with potato and pasta salad which everyone enjoyed. They also loved being able to catch up with other people and/or families they haven’t seen for a while.

NCNS Aboriginal Community Worker, Jen commented, “My highlight of the day was seeing the families who have struggled during COVID isolation, able to come together, socialise and have fun in a safe environment, adhering to COVID regulations of course!”

 

Not your normal NAIDOC Week – We celebrate at SRAC event and reminisce on past NAIDOC Cups

Always Was, Always Will Be was the theme for this year 2020 NAIDOC EVENT.

NAIDOC Week celebrates the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who have occupied this land for over 65,000 years. It recognises Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders as the traditional custodians of these lands.

Nepean Community & Neighborhood Services took part in Sydney Region Aboriginal Corporation NAIDOC Event in Penrith on Thursday 12th November 2020.

The event was a great opportunity to connect with community, have a yarn, share stories, learn from Aboriginal community members, take part in Aboriginal culture and taste some of the amazing foods that were available.

It was also a great occasion to reconnect with services and members of the community as COVID-19 has made this difficult in recent times.

The event was high spirited, colorful and an exciting experience for all.

This year sadly we were unable to hold our annual event NAIDOC Cup due to COVID-19 restrictions which we know so many young people look forward to each year. So in celebration of NAIDOC Week we thought we would look back at some of the previous years, our first event was in 2011, which was much smaller than the event we see today. In 2014 we had 12 schools with over 600 kids attending, this increased to 21 schools and over 750 students in 2016 and our biggest year last year with 30 local schools participating with over 1500 students on the day!

We hope that in the future when the restrictions ease (we hope next year!), we can hold a bigger and better NAIDOC Cup for all the students that missed out this year. Watch this space!

NCNS Celebrates the important role Grandparents play in families

This year we celebrated grandparent’s day through our at Braddock Playtime Playgroup, Koolyangarra Aboriginal Supported Playgroup and our Dark Emus Aboriginal Supported Playgroup. We had over 50 community members attend from our elders in the community to our young and emerging generation.

All playgroups were rich in culture, age, experience and wisdom. It was an opportunity for the relationship and diversity of grandparents to be recognised across age groups and celebrated, recognising the contributions and impacts that our grandparents have on our families, friends and community.

The playgroups were a platform to foster intergenerational teachings, learning and an opportunity for older people to participate within the community.

Through our playgroups we had an exchange of Aboriginal stories, songs and reading. We also provided each child a reading book that they could take home and read with their grandparent, kin, and those who take on the role of a grandparent. Thank you so much to Penrith City Council who provided the funds to purchase the books that were given to each child.

This celebration was an amazing experience for both our elders and emerging generations to untie and create fireworks.

A friendly update from our Functional Family Therapy – Child Welfare team

The Functional Family Therapy – Child Welfare (FFT-CW) team continues in full swing. As we prepare to depart a challenging 2020 (thanks Covid-19) and enter a new year, here are some of our reflections. Family therapy can indeed be done virtually, via the phone or the screen. But gee, it sure is challenging!

The FFT-CW team continued seeing families throughout Lockdown via small screens or large, and sometimes only by phone, and families and therapists alike became very familiar with the new phrase ‘Zoom Fatigue’. Having said that, we were taken aback and deeply touched by each family showing up to their appointments with good humour and grace. We were all in it together, our families, our NCNS colleagues, our community. And there was strength in these numbers that really gave us the energy to push through. Happily, we’ve come out the other side. We’re back in the homes of our courageous clients and moving full steam ahead.

We’re hoping that the Christmas period isn’t too frantic for everyone and provides us all some time to saunter into a holiday period and have some well earned rest. Happy Holidays everyone and a big cheery wave from Mal, Kelly, Craig, Narelle, Nigella and Sara.

How young people are working on their team work, communication & imagination

The NCNS Youth team have done something a bit different this term with their Monday afternoon activity at our Youth Hub. Youth workers, Sami & Joe decided to start playing Dungeons & Dragons with young people as local young people had shown an interest and it is a great game for helping young people further develop team work skills, communication and imagination.

If you aren’t sure what Dungeons & Dragons is, it is a table top role playing game. So this term, the small group got together in person. One group member becomes the Dungeon Master, who then creates a storyline and describes what is happening in the game. The other players act out the characters that they are playing.

Each player creates their own character using a website called DnD Beyond, using guidelines of what they want their character to look like and what they want them to be good at e.g. fighting, magic, talking. The young people then wrote a back story for their character to help them to be able to act that character better.

The young people play as a mix of humans, halflings, goliaths and elf characters. Some are skilled in magic, others are skilled fighters and one is a skilled musician.

Most of the game relies on their imagination, creating a fantasy world where they have to think of creative ways to get out of tricky situations.

The first part of the mission was for the characters to work together to break out of jail that they had all been captured in. From here they are trying to figure out a way to stop themselves from being captured again. Along the way they  collect some interesting tools, that each allow them to do different things.

Youth Worker, Sami asked the young people participating what their highlight has been and they responded “It’s D&D, what’s not to like?!” They also said that they have been enjoying the creative thinking and the adventure that the game requires.

Sami has really enjoyed seeing how much the young people have engaged so strongly with the game, watching their communication skills evolve, and watching them come up with creative ways to solve the problems they face in the game.

One massive highlight is also that the young people are enjoying playing so much that they are wanting to start their own games, so next term 2 of the young people will be hosting their own groups at the centre instead of me hosting it.

If you are interested in finding about more about the NCNS Youth Afterschool program please contact Sami on 0408 586 797 or Joe on 0417 498 918.

Children’s Week Celebration

On Monday we celebrated Children’s week. This year’s theme is ‘INCRC Article 15 – Children have the right to meet together and join groups and organisations as long as it does not stop other people from enjoying their rights. In exercising their rights, children have the responsibility to respect the rights, freedom and reputations of others.’

As we all know, this year has been like no other year we have experienced before. With this in mind, we had to dramatically change how we celebrated this year’s Children’s Week.

We invited our playgroup families to come and join us for a teeny tiny Children’s Week event in line with Covid-19 restrictions and guidelines.

Monday’s celebration gave our families an opportunity to meet other families, play and have fun with their children and others. Although the weather was dreary, cold, wet and windy, we still had some keen families come along to enjoy the fun.

The children who attended got to engage with a range of activities including construction with towers and buildings being made and demolished. Children got to dress up, read books and paint.

There was also a sensory experience where kids experimented with kinetic sand (many volcanos were formed), enjoyed the soft silky feel of flour, the stickiness of tapioca balls and interesting texture of coloured rice.

To keep the children energised we prepared some delicious cups of fruit salad and tasty cheese and vegemite sandwiches for them to munch on.

Some children even got to enjoy splashing in the puddles before going home for the day.

NCNS Child & Family Worker, Zoe H, smiled, “Although this year’s celebration was a lot smaller than usual, it was such a great way to spend a couple of hours celebrating children from the local community!”

56 dogs and 33 cats vaccinated, microchipped and given health checks in Cranebrook

On Saturday the 17th, Cranebrook Neighbourhood Centre opened its doors and welcomed cats and dogs from the local community. We held our Vaccination and Microchipping day in partnership with Greencross Vets and the RSPCA.

56 dogs and 33 cats were vaccinated, microchipped and given an overall general health check-up. It has been identified by local vets that the rates of vaccinated pets in Cranebrook and Kingswood Park have declined. These areas are also particularly high risk to infectious diseases such as Parvo which can have devastating effects on dogs.  Want to know more about Parvovirus? Click here.


The objective of these pet day are to increase the number of animals being vaccinated and reduce the number of sick animals.  All community members that came with their animal were given information regarding infectious animal diseases and prevention strategies.

NCNS would like to thank the RSPCA and Greencross Vets for their time and efforts to make our community and animals safer.

Penrith Rams helping our KP Kids play & experience playing a team sport

On Tuesday 20th October the Kingswood Park Kids Group started back after the school holidays. This term we are lucky enough to have the Penrith Rams who will be coming to group each week and teaching the children some great new skills.

NCNS Community Development Worker, Justine contacted Lauren from the Penrith Rams to see if the they would be interested in getting involved with our Kingswood Park Kids group. Lauren didn’t hesitate and organised for Isaac to come out with his two children who love to help kids play and experience playing a team sport.

This week the children learnt how to punt and to kick.

They also tested their reflexes and listening skills throughout several games.

The absolute favourite of the day was the game of builders and wreckers. During this game the children learnt to work together in their teams.

It was wonderful to see the children learn new skills while they enjoyed getting out into the fresh air and running around. This program will continue for another 7 weeks and we plan to organise a community game at the Rams home field towards the end of this term.

Thank you so much to Lauren & Isaac from the Penrith Rams for making this such an exciting program for our Kingswood Park Kids!

Young people enjoyed exciting adventures during our School Holiday Program

Sami & Joe from the NCNS Youth Team were super excited to run the holiday program this school holidays (all be it with limited numbers) so they could take young people out of the house and out of the centre. NCNS Youth Worker, Joe, exclaimed, “We are so thrilled that some of the Covid-19 Restrictions have been lifted so we could actually go out with the young people. Sami and I have never been more excited for an outing!”

An average of 10 young people attended each day. The vibes for each day were high spirited and of course, respectful.

The first outing was to Sydney Olympic Park Aquatic Centre where everyone played an entertaining game of Marco Polo, even including many other people in the centre. It was impressive to see that the young people displayed yet again just how inclusive they are.

The next day was a bushwalk to the Pool of Salom, while it wasn’t the longest walk, it was definitely steep! The water was beautiful to look at but freezing. Everyone enjoyed venturing around the area and relaxing. Although the steep walk back up was far from relaxing, it was hilarious, with a couple of us feeling (struggling with!) the walk. Joe laughed, “One young person even dramatically laid on the steps and said ‘Leave me here to die! You go ahead without me!’ We all had a good laugh about this and we made it up together! Lucky we had our chill day the next day at the youth hub to recover!” Also throughout the day, there was a lot of talk about our upcoming Dungeons & Dragons program on Monday afternoons which the youth are looking forward to.

The next week started with a trip to North Wollongong Beach. The weather was a bit cool yet some young people still went for a swim! Young people also worked together to dig out a sand bunker.

The Thursday evening was our traditional Movie Night at the NCNS Youth Hub and everyone enjoyed some delicious pizza for dinner. The movie selected to watch was ‘The Pacifier’. Everyone had a good laugh with many comments about Vin Diesel’s hilarious comedic role.

The holiday program concluded on the Saturday as the group travelled into the city to participate in the Wizards and Witchery virtual game. Young people had to work together as a team to search for clues and answer riddles using an app. They worked extremely well together, however the app was not reliable so unfortunately the group did not complete the quest. Joe explained, “Although we could not complete the quest, I was impressed by their perseverance.

The school holiday program was a great success with young people experiencing new places, creating strong bonds with each other and displaying the ability to have mutual respect and tolerance for each other. What amazing group!

Sami & Joe can’t wait until the next School Holiday Program!

If you missed out, come and check out the NCNS Youth Hub on Monday & Wednesday afternoons after school.

We recently conducted a survey and asked young people “What could we do to make the afternoon programs better?” and one young person answered  “Nothing. Honestly there doing amazing, my life has changed because of how much of a help they are. I’m so grateful to have such good people in the area.” This sort of feedback is why our youth workers love doing what they do.

To get in contact with our Youth Team please contact Joe on 0417 498 918 or Sami on 0408 586 797.