What a year it has been for the Make Time Women’s Group!
With the ladies participating in many volunteering opportunities this year, they have become an influential force within the local Penrith area.
They have made and donated 40 library bags to local schools, 20 long term medication bags to nursing homes, 50 homemade grocery bags for Mama Lana’s Community Foundation, reducing the amount of plastic bags when providing food to the homeless.
They have helped us at the NCNS Cranebrook Neighbourhood Centre with events and Brekky Club food preparation, served food at our annual NAIDOC Cup event as well as donated toys for children in the outback in NCNS Aboriginal Community Worker, Dave Gillet’s Toy run.
This year has been a fabulous journey. The women have learnt new skills, shared ideas and created close friendships where they can support each other in day to day life.
It was lovely to celebrate the end of the year with a High Tea at the Teapot Museum at Leura, where they enjoyed tasty treats and explored the area.
Some of the women are environmental warriors, who have been cleaning up the local area as they walk with our Ploggers Group. This High tea was partly funded by the collection of cans and bottles in the last half of this year.
We would like to say a huge thank you to all the women who make up the Make Time Women’s Group and congratulate them on the massive contribution to their local community in 2018.
We are looking forward to 2019 and the adventures it will bring!
During Term 4, the NCNS Youth team’s after school activity was Backyard Science, a hands on, fun filled program using everyday materials to create exciting experiments.
The aim was to create easy, and inexpensive experiments that young people will be able to take and pass onto their friends, siblings and family members.
The great thing about these experiments, is that it gets young people curious about the way things work without even noticing that they are learning!
The favourite experiment of the program was the Walk on Water experiment. You would not believe how many packets of corn-starch went into this experiment! All you need is numerous packets of corn-starch, water and a large plastic tub.
NCNS Youth Workers, Sami & Joe, along with youth were amazed by the way that the corn-starch mixed with water could act like a liquid or as a solid, changing according to pressure or agitation.
The more pressure applied to the mixture, the more solid it felt, hence why youth could jump into the water, as if they were walking on water. With less pressure, the mixture was more like quicksand!
All the young people had a brilliant time during this program. NCNS Youth Workers were really impressed by the way youth worked together to perform the experiments. Everyone was able to have a laugh.
Sami & Joe would like to say “Thank you to all of the young people who participated in NCNS Youth Programs in 2018. We enjoyed every minute!”
The Term 1 2019 NCNS Youth after school activity will be ‘Chill Zone’ with various activities from board games and movies to outdoor activities. Free snacks and drinks provided.
For more information contact our Youth Team on Joe 0417 498 918 or Sami 0408 586 797.
The Cranebrook Estate Christmas Party is a day that NCNS Staff look forward to each year. It gives us the chance to end the year together with our local community while having an exciting, fun filled day for the entire family. It is with great sadness that this year’s Cranebrook Estate Christmas Party was our last one due to the end of the Housing Communities Program.
Being December, the day is always a scorcher, yet each year our staff push through the heat to provide a unforgettable day for the community. This year was no different, and we were thankful for the giant inflatable slide which is always a crowd favourite. We loved watching the children’s faces light up with excitement and screams of laughter as they sped down the water slide.
Towards the end of the day, some of our staff even had a go! What a laugh!
As well as the main attraction, we had a children’s play centre, kids craft, face painting, snow cones, popcorn, a free BBQ, food hamper raffles and stalls.
Children beamed at the sight of Santa and Mrs Claus arriving to the park by police escort. They were thrilled when they got to meet them, have a chat and were gifted a candy treat!
We know that Christmas time can be stressful with all the expectations of shopping, cooking, cleaning, organising, and financial pressures but Christmas time is not about who can provide the most expensive or the most amount of gifts to their friends, family or children, it is a time to come together and enjoy time with our loved ones.
Remember that the best gift that you can give to others is kindness. Be kind to yourself and to others.
For those who may not have somewhere to go on Christmas day, or if Christmas is a difficult time for you, please know that you are not alone.
For a list of Meal Services in Penrith over the Christmas period please click here.
“Would you like fries with that?” is a Youth employment project consisting of a series of 5 workshops for young people aged 14-18.
The workshops aimed to provide access to free local workshops focused on developing skills and knowledge, addressing barriers and roadblocks to young people gaining employment, developed in partnership with future employers of local young people in a variety of sectors. 8 of our local young people attended the project with a view to gain casual or part-time work.
An Introduction and What Paper work do I need? – For this workshop we looked at getting a Tax File Number, Superannuation and getting an Opal Card for transport.
Creating a Resume / What do I have to offer? – This workshop was facilitated by Schools as Industry Partnerships looking at what skills we have and what young people can put in a resume and how to put one together
What are Employers looking for? – This workshop was a great opportunity for young people to hear directly from local employers on what they look for in workers and how to apply and the interview process.
Getting ready for interviews– This workshop covered the interview process, how to prepare for interview, practice questions and some mock interviews
How do I look? – The final workshop covered getting ready for interview and what clothing would be appropriate to wear. The young people had the opportunity to do some on line shopping to purchase interview clothes
NCNS would like to thank all our partners and employers that supported the project and took time from their busy days to come and talk to our young people to offer them insight into a range of industries and opportunities for work.
It is at this time of year that we like to thank all the communities that we work with including services that partner with us, funders, other stakeholders and of course our neighbourhoods and families.
2018 has been a challenging year for many small-medium, locally-managed services. Shifting reform messages and service delivery boundaries, the loss of funding from locally-based services to state-wide services –have impacted the services sector. Partnership and collaborations lose out to competitive advantage. In the meantime, the communities and families we work with, have never needed more from the services sector, and lose out when our service system becomes less joined-up and connected.
Despite this general observation of dynamics of the services sector, we are incredibly fortunate to have many committed and productive partners – at Kooly Playgroup, the organisations partnering with our Child & Family Team are highly committed, and this is resulting in a cohort of Aboriginal kids who are readier than ever to get a great start at school. Working with Their Futures Matter on an Aboriginal Evidence Building Pilot on the Kooly model – has been a highlight of this year, and recognition to our team and great partners who are making big strides in Closing the Gap in educational disadvantage and keeping kids safe at home with their families. It’s great to see this model being recognised – congratulations to Carolyn and her team, and the Kooly Playgroup partners including Community Health, Building Strong Foundations team, Lifestart, Uniting – NDIS, Muru Mittigar, Explore and Play, Northcott, The School Dentist and STEPS Vision ( NSW Health).
This year has seen an expansion of our service delivery areas – to the east into Blacktown, and the west to the Mountains and Lithgow. A very big thank you to Angelique and her team at Thrive Family Services, for the new working partnership, and the opportunity of co-locating Closing the Gap staff so we can provide a more accessible service to Aboriginal communities in the Mountains and Lithgow. Thanks also go to the FACS CSC’s – at Penrith, BM, and Lithgow – for the close integration and willingness to work with this is to implement this truly exciting family therapy model.
Breakfast Club at Cranebrook Neighbourhood Centre now serves 500 breakfasts per week. With the Braddock school pick up service, a safe space for teens, and whole families now coming to Breakfast – it’s a wonderful, warm, very busy, community space – with kids aged from 4-18 all sharing the space and embodying all that is great about an active local neighbourhood centre. Very big thanks to Penrith City Council’s retiring GM and his family, PCC, and a number of local businesses for your kind donations this year.
This year we’ve had an unprecedented need for material and emergency support with folks on pensions doing it incredibly tough. We are so appreciative of SSI for the amazing Staples Bag initiative, and also to Second Bite for the great food that we are able to provide to community. We’ve never seen such need and these partners provide high quality, nutritious food, offering choice and dignity to families.
Our local schools have been very excited about new Youth Mentoring program developed by our Youth Team, called Resilient Me, it is an evidence-informed program offered in school to provide skills and support to young people.
And a new program developed for our Aboriginal Dual Diagnosis project – called “Steps to Healing”, combines ACT and Mindfulness, with Aboriginal Cultural connectedness – the participant feedback has been extraordinary. It’s an activity we’ve long been looking to provide, and we’re very pleased that the community feedback has been so positive to this Healing group.
Meanwhile our other projects; Community Development, Child & Family Services, Parenting Programs, Brighter Futures & Youth Hope Casework, Neighbourhood Centres, Chaplaincy, Youth Workers and the rest of the NCNS team have been busier than ever, working with communities in new and different ways, as we evolve our programs.
The work we do collectively is not possible without strong partnerships and we are very fortunate to have such amazing colleagues in so many organisations. Thank you to each and every one of you!
Best wishes to all you, we hope that you have a relaxing time with your loved ones over Christmas and New Year. We look forward to seeing you all again in 2019.
NCNS delivers a number of services across the greater Western Sydney, Nepean, Blue Mountains and Lithgow areas and therefore we have a number of teams. This includes our Early Childhood, Aboriginal Services, Aboriginal Dual Diagnosis, Closing the Gap, Youth Hope – Casework, Community Development, Youth, Parenting, Admin/Finance, casual staff and Functional Family Therapy – Child Welfare teams.
We work collaboratively however being located in various centres means that we are not always together. Each year we really look forward to our end of year Christmas celebration with all of our staff, where we come together as one big team and it’s almost as if we were never apart. There is such a sense of comradery, support and what feels just like a big family.
NCNS is incredibly proud of the team that we have; the way they work and the strong, long lasting connections that they have created with our local community.
We will take this time over the Christmas break to rest and recharge and we look forward to working together with our community in the new year!
Pictured above: NCNS Staff Christmas Party on Thursday 13th December 2018.
We all know that exercise can have a positive impact on our physical, mental and social health but many of us struggle to find a type of exercise that we actually enjoy.
Last Tuesday, Emma from our Make Time Women’ Group courageously put herself out there and shared her passion for dance by showing the group how to line dance. For some of the group, this was a new challenging skill to learn. Emma was very patient with us all while we attempted to keep to the beat, stay in time and work together as a group. She also showed us some creative ways of remembering the different steps.
The morning was filled with fun and laughter, all cares taken away while making exercise an enjoyable experience for everyone that participated.
The ladies were surprised at how much of a work out they got while line dancing, and the level of fitness required to keep going.
Since this was such a hit, the Make Time Women’s Group are planning to incorporate dance at least once a term in 2019 where anyone will be welcome to join.
Check out the ladies, having a go below:
If you would like to find out more about the Make Time Women’s Group, please contact Justine on 02 4729 0442.
While we are caught up in our busy schedules, we often forget to stop, take a breath and take in our surroundings but when we take a second to capture a picture, we can be present in that moment and escape from the stresses of everyday life.
During September & October, NCNS Community Development Worker, Justine Reynolds invited residents of Cranebrook and Kingswood park to participate in a photography competition with a focus on showcasing positive pictures, events or happenings around our local area.
We received a small yet diverse selection of photos, each with its own story of what was happening and what positive attribute that each photo depicted.
From these photos we discovered that the Regatta and lakes featured heavily alongside the wetlands and that residents from both Cranebrook and Kingswood park loved to participate in local community events.
A highlight of this competition was the beautiful story that went with a photo of a plate a food. This picture symbolised community spirit, the food was a representation of how help was easily located in a family’s time of need.
The winners of this competition received prizes including photography canvases, vouchers for Percy Plunkett, EB Games and Smiggle, as well as toys.
In this day and age, we seem to be more disconnected from our neighbours. From working long hours, working weekends, so many scheduled activities for kids, and most of us engaged with technology, TV, Internet, or computer games as well as a lot of our interactions now moving to online or with machines, we are less likely to make links with the people who live around us.
With this in mind, the NCNS Community Development team,with the Youth Team, decided to host a Community BBQ with Kingswood Park residents, an opportunity for the community to connect with others who live in the neighbourhood.
On a hot, sticky and humid afternoon, we came down to the Park across from Kingswood Park School, to set up for our community BBQ. Uniting and Penrith City Council’s Middle years program staff also joined us. Thank you to you guys for supporting this day. Community bonded over a delicious sausage sizzle and spent the afternoon involved in chalk art, bubbles, ball games, skipping and an Aboriginal craft activity.
Community were also treated to some homemade cookies freshly baked by our Women’s Group that morning. Thank you, ladies!
A huge hit was double dutch skipping; this is where two long jump ropes turn in opposite directions and are jumped by one or more players simultaneously, with one mum in particular demonstrating exceptional talent!
The afternoon was so much fun, with over 80 children and carers coming along to relax and chat to others in the neighbourhood making what we hope will be long lasting friendships. It was lovely to see!
Children’s Week celebrates the right of children to enjoy childhood. Play can empower creativity and growth vital to children’s development. Each year, at our Children’s Week event we strive to create a safe space for exploration with a focus on hands on play.
With the pressures of our scheduled, test scored, and technology driven world we can sometimes forget the importance of free time to just play!
Children’s eyes filled with wonder as they arrived at our centre and discovered the assortment of exhilarating activities for them to explore including a petting zoo, puppies to pat, Tumbletown, glitter tattoos, craft, building and construction of all shapes and sizes sand and water play (with dinosaurs!), artificial ‘snow’ to feel, and lots and lot of other types of sensory activities!
We loved seeing so many parents supporting and encouraging their children by doing the activities with their children.
The event had a wonderful community feel and was a hugely successful event with over 550 people attending throughout the day. We had visits from Braddock Public School Kindy kids, and Tamara and Greys Lane Child care Centre’s, Kooly Playgroup, and so many, many local families coming along.
We would like to shout out the Cranebrook Year 10 students helping on the day, you did an awesome job. We are also extremely grateful for the support from other organisations who came along with great activities to do with all the families and put smiles on all their faces all morning. Thank you to Penrith City Council, Uniting – Ability Links, Barnardos, Lifestart, Platform, Breakthru, West Connect and Explore and Develop Penrith.
Congratulations to the NCNS Early Childhood team for creating such special day for all the children and families and NCNS staff for helping out on the day.
During October the NCNS Closing the Gap team, together with Trudy, NCNS Aboriginal Community Coordinator and Dave, NCNS Aboriginal Community Worker ran a series of information workshops on 5 chronic diseases that affect life expectancy, for Aboriginal community members and their families who may have or are at risk of developing these chronic diseases.
Each workshop was designed for open and interactive discussions between community and facilitators and also allowed space for private one on one questions or concerns. Transport, morning tea and lunch was provided.
The first workshop led by Andrew Woodrup, Diabetes Educator at Nepean Hospital focused on Diabetes; what it is, treatment, exercise, diet control and allied services.
The 9 clients that attended the workshop mentioned that it was informative, useful and clear as well as finding Andrew extremely helpful. Through this workshop we were able to book 3 follow up appointments for clients to return to the Diabetes centre.
One client let us know that she was ‘on a very relaxed high for days after the session with Andrew and was very thankful.’
The next workshop was a Respiratory Education day presented by Shirley Brown, an Aboriginal Chronic Care Nurse from the CACC Nursing Team at Mt Druitt & Blacktown Community Health Centres.
8 community members were provided information on; Oxygen/Carbon Dioxide, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), Emphysema, Asthma, Asthma Care plans, puffers, treatment and medication as well as smoking, exercise. Attendants were also able to get referrals to the CALM clinic at Nepean Hospital.
Besides providing information, the social aspect of this workshop was a highlight with one client expressing that she was so excited about getting dressed up and being able to socialise, others being referred to our programs such as Koori Cuppa Women’s Group and reuniting 2 friends that had not seen each other for 40 years! This made us so happy as we know that suffering from chronic disease can be especially isolating.
Our third workshop was a Cardiovascular Education Day with Susan Tewhaiti, registered nurse and Karen McNulty, Senior Aboriginal Health Worker from the Cardiac Rehabilitation unit at Mt Druitt Hospital who presented to 21 community members. We also had Mootang Tarami Van Screeners, Patricia Tetau, registered nurse and Donna Jury, Aboriginal Health Worker (NBMLHD) who provided screening, health checks and health information.
There was show and tell with Pacemakers, Defibrillator and stents as well as talking about heart conditions from the signs and symptoms of heart attacks to medications and health checks. We now have clients that are more likely to attend cardiac rehab.
The next week we held a Renal Education Day and were lucky to have 4 presenters, Mr Lindsay Hardy – ARDAC Study Manager Westmead, Ms Marianne Kerr – ARDAC Research Officer, Mrs Victoria Sinka – ARDAC Research Assistant, Mrs Noella Sheerin (SCHN) ARDAC Research Assistant.
We also had another visit from Patricia and Donna from the Mootang Tarimi Van who provided free renal assessments to 9 community members and 7 NCNS staff.
The presenters went through how the kidney functions, its importance, kidney transplants, the donor register, dialysis and smoking. Clients were then able to take their renal screening results to their GP for follow up.
The last workshop concentrated on Cancer, Alex Foster, a volunteer at the Nepean Cancer Care Information Centre gave a presentation to 17 community members about the different types of cancer including lung, prostate, skin, cervical and breast cancer as well as family history, exercise, the importance of screenings with your GP and support groups around the area.
Through this series of workshops, we are left with better-informed and supported community through new information, referrals, making connections with others who are dealing with the same health concerns and or/diseases. We would like to thank all of the presenters who gave their time and provided us with vital information as well as the community who came along to each workshop.
Grandparent’s can be key members of a child’s family. Many grandparents are heavily involved in the lives of their grandchildren from picking them up from school to part-time or full-time care.
Grandparent’s can provide unconditional love, support, patience, family traditions and life lessons.
NSW Grandparents Day is held every year on the last Sunday in October and this year we celebrated on Sunday 28th October at Parker Park in Kingswood.
NCNS provided a range of activities aimed to engage, interact and show appreciation to our grandparents who play a huge role in loving, caring, nurturing and guiding us from the day we are born.
Families participated in a guessing competition, knock down activities, they got to have a photo for the day, create a beautiful photo frame, and were also provided with information about our services.
We had so many grandparents come to have a photo with their grandchildren, capturing memories that they could take home with them. It was wonderful to see grandparents and grandchildren sitting side by side decorating photo frames to place their treasured photo from the day.
One child gushed “I don’t get to see my grandmother much cause she lives far away but now I can put this next to my bed and look at her every day!” Our hearts are melting!
Check out some more of our amazing grandparents below!
Mental Health Month’s theme this year was Share the Journey. We can share the journey in many ways, as simple as sharing a cuppa, a stroll, a task, a yarn, a hug, a memory, a meal or a tune.
We decided this year to help raise awareness by inviting community to ‘Share a Tune’ at a Lip Sync Battle for primary school students, high school students and local community members. The event was held at Braddock Public School on Tuesday 23rd October between 5:30 – 7:30pm.
There were prizes for best performance and best dressed. Congratulations to Angel for winning best performance and the winners of best dressed, Donna & Kathleen (Kenny & Dolly).
This was a light hearted, hilarious and uplifting event. It was great to see people not take themselves too seriously, laugh and have fun while amusing the crowd.
We would like to shout out to everyone who entered and/or supported the Lip Sync Battle and had a go; to the students from Cranebrook High for looking after the sound and lighting, you did an outstanding job and to the teachers for being on board with this idea as well as their unforgettable performance of Cher’s Turn Back Time. We were overwhelmed by all of your support.
We would also like to say a special thanks to our guest speaker Blake Williams who shared his own battles with mental health, specifically anxiety and depression. Your honesty, strength, bravery, acceptance and willingness to share your story really moved us and the whole community. You are an inspiration to many of our young people and by being open about your own struggles with mental health shows others that it is okay to be not okay and that they are not alone. Blake performed his original song Lovan from his EP News and it was truly an incredible performance. You are such a star.
As a parent, time can pass us by so quickly especially when we are all busy juggling the different parts of life; working, preparing lunches, making sure kids get to school, have clean clothes, homework, provided a healthy dinner each night, all while trying to maintain your own sanity. We know the struggle is real! One moment you are caught up in the daily grind and the next minute you realise that its that time again, the school holidays! ‘Mum, I am bored!’ they say, ‘Dad but there is nothing to do at home!’ you hear. You need to find something to keep those teenagers at bay. We understand! We know that youth need a safe, familiar space to have fun and keep them entertained during the school holidays. This is why we run the School Holiday program each term for youth aged 12-17 in Cranebrook & Kingswood Park. Many of the youth that attend have already made a connection with our youth workers through after school activities and events, so parents can rest assured that their kids are with adults that they know and trust.
This FREE program gives young people the opportunity to experience things that they may not have had the chance to experience yet without having to worry about the cost. During October’s School Holiday Program, we had a mixture of activities over the two weeks, a balance of active and relaxed days to suit all types of youth including the following:
Penrith Pools The day at the pools was a chill day, with youth hanging by the pool with their friends, swimming (thankfully in the heated pool) and munching on sandwiches.
Ice Skating Youth enjoyed getting out on the ice and were determined to learn the art of ice skating, with some spills along the way. The young people pushed youth worker, Joe out of his comfort zone by encouraging him to skate out into the open and away from the edges. As you can imagine he did this gracefully and was extremely amusing for our young people! You are such a good sport, Joe!
This was such a great day hanging at our Kooly centre. As well as the competitive FIFA competition, youth enjoyed tacos and board games. We would like to commend the youth for their great sportsmanship shown on the day and congratulations to Nico, the winner of the FIFA comp, and to Jarrah who was the runner up.
Ninja Warrior Course One of the favourite activities this School Holiday Program was the Ninja Warrior Course at Vision Gym Sports. It was a great challenge for all, a hands-on experience leaving our youth exhausted and sore by the end of the day. The staff at Vision commended our young people for being so respectful, so congratulations to our youth, you should be really proud of yourselves.
Blaxland Riverside Park A much-needed rest day after the previous day at the Ninja Warrior Course. We relaxed at the park, playing board games and enjoying a BBQ.
Tree Tops Due to rain, Tree tops was deemed unsafe so unfortunately, we were unable to do this activity and had to think on our feet. Instead, we took the youth to the movies, very appropriate for such a rainy day. Youth had the choice of two movies, Venom or The House with a Clock in Its Walls. We would like to thank the youth who attended for their adaptability and understanding of the situation and being able to make the most of the day regardless of the weather changing our plans.
Movie Night We had 18 young people come along to our Kooly Centre in Cranebrook for a movie night. While watching Avengers Infinity wars, we enjoyed popcorn, pizza and the youth enjoyed educating Joe about the story line and the characters (He had no idea!)
The next School Holiday program will be running in January 2019.
Due to the popularity of this program, places book out quick so watch out for our next School Holiday Program on our website or Facebook page and speak to our Youth Team about enrolment.
The after-school activities were developed out of the Safe Community for Kids Working Group. It was identified that there was a lack in low costing activities for young kids up to 12 years old. Services on the committee joined forces and delivered two mini events during term 3. Nepean Community Neighbourhood Services, Breakthru, Penrith City Council, Braddock Public School, Cranebrook High School and Barnardos have all come together to make these activities possible.
The mini events were held at Sheringham Oval which is easily accessible to all community, kids and young people. It was great to see young children from Braddock Public School come down with the teachers to join in the fun outside the classroom along with the local After School Care group.
Both events were completely free to the community and catered to for missing audience. Oz tag, bowling, basketball, art and craft were all on offer at the events which was a great success. With approximately 60 kids making the most of the games and activities that were on offer, we have decided to continue the afternoon activities in Term 4 2018.
On Saturday the 13th of October North Penrith Community Centre in Kingswood Park opened its doors to the animals of Penrith. This was possible through partnerships with Greencross Coreen Ave Vets and the RSPCA who provide vets, vet nurses and students who volunteer their time to ensure we can achieve a healthy community for our pets. They also cooked up a sausage sizzle which was much appreciated. The objective of the day was to vaccinate and conduct health checks on our furry friends making sure they are as healthy and happy as they can be. This was an opportunity for community to have educational conversations with the vets from RSPCA and Greencross Vets regarding any concerns they had for their pets. We had over 20 cats and 35 dogs come through the doors to get their yearly vaccinations which was a fantastic outcome.
On Saturday 27 October Cranebrook Pet Day saw another great day working towards a Parvo Free Penrith, with 85 free health checks and 74 vaccinations for the pets of Cranebrook. A united team effort by NCNS, Greencross Coreen Ave Vets, RSPCA and Bayer Animal Health ensured all pets were vaccinated, microchipped, given a health check as well as worming and flea control were provided by Bayer. We were glad to welcome Bayer to our Pet Days. It was a day full of puppies and kittens and great partnerships.
On the last Tuesday of each month, Koolyangarra host community BBQ’s for the Aboriginal Community.
We invite you and your friends to come along, meet our staff at Koolyangarra, find out about the services and programs we run across Penrith, meet some of the services in the area and have a yarn and a feed. There will also will be games and giveaways at each community BBQ.
Our community BBQ days are fun and relaxed. Come and meet new friends or catch up with old ones. There are always plenty of laughs.
W hope to see you at our next BBQ day.
If you would like more information, please contact Trudy on 4729 3907.
Aboriginal Men’s group was established, in partnership over 12 months ago in response to the lack of space for Aboriginal men to meet in the local area.
Our first gathering saw over 20 Aboriginal men come together to discuss the direction of the group and the importance of having space for men to meet and discuss ‘men’s business’ in a safe place.
Over 12 months on, the Aboriginal Men’s Group has been involved in many community events, including creating a Bush Tucker Garden, had guest speakers from targeted services to discuss issues affecting men, been out on fishing trips to Yarramundi and laid back yarns at the centre, finished with a group lunch each fortnight.
This group continues to grow and if you would like to be involved, please contact David on 4729 3907.
Aboriginal Men’s Group meet at Koolyangarra Aboriginal Family Centre Wednesday’s fortnightly from 10:30am-1pm.
Early Intervention screening is vital for young children to help identify any health, developmental or other problems that may affect their growth, learning & development.
This month, our Aboriginal Early Childhood Developmental Outreach Day (AECDOD) was a huge success with over 50 community members plus several service providers attending on the day.
Due to the huge demand and interest from our previous Outreach Day, The School dentist, a mobile service, provided additional staff and an extra dental chair to accommodate the large number of bookings and resulted in 29 children accessing the dental clinic on the day.
We were thrilled that so many children were able to access the dental clinic with dental hygiene playing an important role in a children’s overall health.
It is important for young children to be visiting the dentist regularly, at least once a year, to help to maintain their oral health. During a dental check-up, the dentist can provide tips on good oral hygiene techniques like brushing and flossing, pick up and address any oral hygiene problems to prevent them from getting worse, as well as providing a thorough clean to remove plaque, tartar or surface stains preventing bacteria from sticking to teeth. Bacteria can cause cavities and tooth decay which left untreated can cause damage to tooth structure, lead to infections and/or the need for costly procedures such as fillings or extractions.
Poor dental hygiene in early childhood can also cause baby teeth to fall out sooner, moving permanent teeth forward, which can result in teeth growing crooked or out of place.
Diseased, crooked and or missing teeth can impact speech, make chewing food difficult and/or painful and lead to the need for corrective procedures.
Research has linked periodontal disease to other health problems such as heart complications, stroke, diabetes complications and respiratory disease.
Another valuable service on the day was the Mister Germ Handwashing & Hygiene Program delivered by Public Health. This program focuses on a variety of fun, visual, verbal and hands on activities that help children become more aware of what germs are, how they spread sickness and prevention. The program teaches children that handwashing is the best barrier to disease transmission and how they can wash their hands properly.
This is a vital skill for children who are vulnerable to infectious disease due to exposure to germs in care, immature immune systems and behaviours that spread germs such as thumb sucking, putting objects in their mouth and lack of control of bodily fluids.
The program is presented in a fun and memorable way using Mister Germ & The Germinator costumes. Mister Germ is a bad guy who spreads germs and The Germinator, is the good guy who teaches children about germs and is a newly created character after suggestion from Aboriginal Elder, Martin Ballangarry.
On the day parents were provided with information on the importance of immunisation, Lifestart talked about ‘How the NDIS can help their child, the NCNS Community Development team delivered a Healthy Eating Workshop and NCNS Early Childhood team provided information about our Supported Playgroups and were able to engage two new families into our Kooly Aboriginal Supported Playgroup.
Families were able to link in to services through My Gov, as well connecting with staff from Uniting & The Aboriginal Ability Links Team, Penrith City Council Children’s Services and the Building Strong Foundations Team from Cranebrook Community Health.
While families were able to find out information about services, children were entertained with an assortment of exhilarating activities including Tumbletown, art, craft and sensory play.
Community were also treated to beverages from the coffee van, cakes, fruit platters as well as a BBQ lunch.
With the demand for the dental clinic being high once again, we have visits from the Dental Clinic planned for next year. The next dental clinic dates are Thursday 18th April 2019, 11th July 2019 & 3rd October 2019.
If you want to know more about the Dental Clinic in 2019, are interested in our Supported Playgroups or have any other questions for our Early Childhood team please contact Carolyn on (02) 4729 0442/ 0438 690 777.
Earlier this year for Harmony Day, NCNS hosted a community feast, where community brought with them a plate of food representing their culture. It was a day to celebrate the cultural diversity of our community. We had amazing feedback on the day where 100% of community felt a sense of belonging and inclusion and wanted NCNS to make this a yearly celebration.
Seeing that our Harmony day event was received so well by our community, this month we decided to do a Pop-Up Poi Workshop at Beacroft Park in Cranebrook where the park transformed into the centre stage for learning the art of Poi. “POI” is the Maori word for “ball”. Poi refers to both a style of performing art and the equipment used for engaging in poi performance. Poi involves swinging tethered weights through a variety of rhythmical and geometric patterns. Poi was used many years ago by the Maori people of New Zealand to increase flexibility and strength in their hands and arms as well as improving coordination. For Women, it helped to keep their hands flexible for weaving and for men, improving the strength and coordination required during battle.
The setup of the workshops was authentic, with mats laid on the floor.
“This is how it is done back home!” remarked one community member.
We were amazed to see people who had come all the way from Fairfield! They expressed that they were so humbled by this workshop as they have been constantly looking for activities for their children to stay connected to culture and music.
The music flowed as we were enchanted by the performance by a member of the Te Kakano O Te Atua Kapa Haka Performing Art’s Group. Members of the community, young and old, came down to participate in the activities and join in the making and learning of the Poi.
The workshop was not only about making Poi and dancing, it was a space to educate community about other cultures and rebuild lost connections. Through this workshop many community members were referred onto cultural dance and language groups in the local area.
With over 50 community members attending on the day, this Poi Workshop was a great success for the community. A big thank you to everyone that came down, made a Poi and shared a part of this amazing culture, together.
We have more Pop-Up workshops in the works, so watch this space!
Last term we said goodbye to our Girls After School Group to make way for the Big Sister Program. Thanks to the support of Braddock Public School, this new program has been delivered during school hours, allowing us access to more students. It took off with a bang, with 17, Year 6 students participating during Term 3. The girls meet once a week at the school, facilitated by Nada, NCNS Community Development Worker, who gives the girls support, friendship, guidance and acceptance, creating the space for them to develop resilience and independence.
The Big Sister Program has a strong focus on identity and self-esteem. Young people with low self esteem can find it difficult to express themselves, they may have trouble coping with pressure and are more at risk of developing depression, anxiety and other mental health problems.
When young people have a strong sense of self, they can better deal with challenges and are less vulnerable to peer pressure.
The program aims to provide students with important life skills to help them reach their full potential in all areas of their lives including understanding and adapting to changes, managing relationships and friendships, making new friends and keeping them, as well as staying safe in their school and community.
The program also covers taking care of yourself by understanding how to maintain personal hygiene. All participants were provided with hygiene packs that included; shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, pads and body wash.
The last two weeks of the program have focused on developing the student’s communication skills through role play. The girls were split into two groups; half became hair and nail stylist’s and the other half became their customers. During the fun, interactive sessions, it was great to see the girls jump into their roles showcasing and practising their skills while they became professionals and took joy in looking after their ‘customers’.
With the Big Sister program being such a success this term we are planning to implement the program again during Term 4.
This term’s project for the Let’s Build Program was building buddy benches from up-cycled materials. With around 7 young people attending each week, they were given the opportunity to learn a new skill and explore outside of their comfort zone, in a safe and familiar setting.
Together with Sami & Joe, NCNS Youth Workers, the young people were able to put their problem-solving skills into practise while working as a team to brainstorm ideas on how to best assemble the buddy benches. It was inspiring to see all the different concepts that each student came up with and we loved to see each participant take the time to listen and consider each other’s suggestions.
The program gave the students a taste of construction in a hands-on, fun and creative space. The young people were thrilled at the chance to use power tools while our youth workers watched in nervous anticipation! We were thankful that the young people were very careful, and therefore we had no casualties! Phew!!
As well as allowing the students to discover their creative side, the program gives young people the chance to meet new friends, who may not be in the same class at school but who share the same interests without the pressures of testing and results.
At the end of the term, the students involved feel proud at their creations and have the satisfaction of being able to contribute to their local community. They are aiming to finish one bench and donate it to Braddock Public School.
The Thornton Estate, adjacent to Penrith Station is a 40-hectare housing development, master planned by UrbanGrowth NSW (now Landcom) that commenced in 2012. The site was acquired by the state government from the Commonwealth Department of Defence in 2011. Landcom has a policy of providing Community Development Programs (CDP) at these new estates as a means of “kick-starting connection, fostering vibrancy and making a place like Thornton attractive,” according to JOC Consulting who produced the Thornton Community Development Program guidelines.
The Nepean Community and Neighbourhood Services (NCNS) won the tender to run the Community Development Program (CDP) at Thornton and has had in place, a Community Facilitator working with local residents since December, 2014.
NCNS and the two Community Facilitators, Casey and Cinzia over the 3.5 years have nurtured a vibrant, welcoming community at Thornton by working to:
establish a dynamic and positive identity for Thornton and the residents of the locale;
create a sense of place, community and belonging among residents at Thornton;
assist new residents to settle into their new homes and the surrounding area;
connect new residents with the surrounding communities;
integrate Thornton with the surrounding community assets;
assist in the development of a social infrastructure in Thornton which will remain sustainable after this Community Development Program and the construction period come to an end.
The basic philosophy is to create meaningful experiences in partnership with local residents through the creation of events, activities and opportunities suggested by people who live in the Estate in order to bring people together, fostering a strong sense of community, belonging and sharing. Usually, an event will have a planning committee or group of volunteers who drive, steer and actively help the Community Worker run the event on the day. Resident-led activities are vital because the CDP has a finite life (scheduled to finish at the end of this year) but the ideas, skills and enthusiasm to carry on will no doubt remain.
The Thornton Community Group was formed with program sustainability in mind – a group of local residents who would assist in bringing neighbours together to put on events and run classes and activities at the Thornton Community Centre. They might also be able to help keep the doors open at the Centre at specific times during the week to continue offering a welcoming place to the local community and as an information hub for those enquiring about booking the space or wanting to know about services, businesses or “What’s on” activities in the area. Since it’s formation in May 2017, the Thornton Community Group has worked exceptionally hard on a number of initiatives, such as:
Two Street Libraries (which will be launched soon)
Release of 2000 bass fingerling fish in the Thornton Canal
Creation of the new Thornton Social Club
Working on the establishment of Thornton Community Garden
Pilot Community Safety project with Penrith City Council
Cultural celebrations, sporting and family events
Lobbying work (advocating for the needs of the Thornton residents, e.g.: fighting hard to get footpaths built)
Looking at re-establishing the Thornton Markets
And it is only with the great enthusiasm, creativity and fantastic support of the local community in the Thornton Estate, together with wonderful sponsors and partners such as St Hillier’s, First Point Property, Morton RE, Link/RMB, Algila RE, Southern Cross Care and Evolve Housing that the CDP has been able to provide 3.5 years of the following activities –
Christmas at Thornton events
Games Days in local parks
Volunteer and Friends Drinks Nights
Auskick Fun Day
Easter Egg Hunts
Welcome BBQs and Morning Teas
125 Year Anniversary Sheffield Cricket Match
Chinese New Year celebrations
Holi Festival of Colours
Welcome to Thornton events
Community Safety Forum
Living in the Urban Heart of Penrith Community Forum
Welcome to Spring Environment Week event
Annual Clean Up Australia Days and quarterly Clean Up Thornton Days
Family Soccer Gala Days
And planned, upcoming events include EID Fest, Drive-in Movie Night in one of the developer vacant building sites (pending approval), Christmas Light Show, Welcome Dinner Project (a joint partnership with Joining the Dots organisation and Landcom) and the erection of an outdoor woodfire oven to hold monthly, community bake-offs.
Once the Thornton Community Centre reopens after months of refurbishment works, local residents in the Estate and the wider Penrith City community will be able to attend weekly classes and activities such as Tai Chi, English Classes (beginner and intermediate), Boot Camps, Gentle Exercise classes, Thornton Social Club, Talks, Cooking classes, Organic Farm Veggie Box pick-ups (fortnightly or when crops are available) and Zumba.
Anyone wanting to know more about the Thornton Community Development Program (CDP) or who would be interested in running events, programs or classes at the Estate, can contact Cinzia on 0400 370 059 or email email@example.com
Anyone wanting to know more about the Thornton Community Group or interested in joining this friendly group, can contact the Secretary, Cathy by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
During Term 2, NCNS Youth Team ran a Let’s Build program developed due to young people displaying an interest in wanting to build thing, so we channelled that energy into designing and creating catapults and shields. It was a great space to get creative, hang out and make friends.
The young people loved using the coloured spray cans to create the finished product.
It was great to see the young people show off their finished shields with such a sense of pride and achievement.
We also had some hilarious games of hide and seek, with the youth finding some interesting places to hide resulting in much laughter and enjoyment for all.
The program was popular, averaging six young people attending each week, leading us to continue the program in term 3 and amping it up by building buddy benches from up-cycled materials and the introduction of power tools. The benches made will be donated to local schools and community services.
To find out more about this program contact our Youth Team on 02 4729 3907
Over 1200 primary school students from 25 Schools throughout the Nepean area, along with parents and community, attended the NCNS 8th Annual NAIDOC Cup on Friday 22nd June at the Hunter Fields at Emu Plains.
NAIDOC Cup is a free combined schools gala day for Aboriginal primary school students and their friends. The day is a celebration of Aboriginal culture as well as a great opportunity to show off the natural athletic skills of our Aboriginal kids and their friends. 70% of the participants are Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people.
As Joy, NCNS Managing Director noted, “Aboriginal kids often excel at sport, and by utilising this strength, we can increase engagement with school and civic life – promoting values such as teamwork, and skills such as communication.”
Staff and volunteers arrived at the Hunter fields early in the morning rugged up in jackets and beanies, trying to keep their icicle like fingers from falling off whilst trying to set up for the day.
Those lucky enough to man the BBQ’s, used the heat to warm their icy cold hands.
The aroma of sizzling sausages and onion teased our nostrils as we tried to keep our minds on the task at hand. There was no time for mucking around when racing against the clock, knowing that hundreds of children would be arriving any minute.
Without delay, busloads of children began to appear and flocked together on the previously bare, dew drenched fields that were now filled with a sea of faces that were eager to begin the day.
A welcome to country was given by Uncle Greg, followed by a smoking ceremony performed by Uncle Wes.
Although the day began as a cool, crisp morning, we were soon comforted by warmth and light from the scorching sun who until today had been absent. In stark contract to the rest of the week, there was not a cloud in the sky. It was the perfect day!
The older students were eager to begin the Oz Tag and Netball competitions, while the Joeys needed their tummies to be filled before they began rotations of their activities for the day.
The joeys got to celebrate their culture while learning and having fun. In the Art & Craft tent, children were each given a pack filled with items for them to create their own designs while also being educated on the Aboriginal history that went along with each item. See info sheet here.
Koomurri provided an exhilarating show with a didgeridoo, song & dance, Aboriginal art and face painting. We had children coming up to the info desk all day asking where they could get their face painted, not just the Joeys but the older students as well.
Larry Brandy, a Wiradjuri man from Condobolin, had kids captivated while narrating his animated stories in the Storytelling tent.
Children also got the chance to have a go at Aboriginal Dance while enjoying performances from Walan Mahlee, our Aboriginal girls & boys dance groups facilitated by Brad & Teagan Pittman.
After a serious day of friendly competition, Donna (NCNS) & Mitchell (PHN) announced the winners and presented trophy for the NAIDOC Cup to the winning teams.
Netball Juniors – Kingswood Park Public School
Netball Seniors – Braddock Public School
Oz Tag Juniors – Werrington Public School
Oz Tag Seniors – Werrington County
Lawrence from Australian Unity presented the sportsmanship awards.
This year our volunteer referees for Netball and Oz tag were decked out in awesome uniforms thanks to Australian Unity.
We would love to thank all the schools and teachers for participating and supporting this year’s NAIDOC Cup.
A massive thank you to Australian Unity – Wangary, Westfields Penrith & Uniting for the financial support that helps make NAIDOC Cup possible.
Thank you so much to our partners and volunteers for their time and hard work; Platform Youth Services, West Connect Domestic Violence Service, Primary Health Network, Penrith City Council, Emu Plains Lions Club, Glenmore Park High School and Cranebrook High School students. We value your support and time.
Lastly thank you to all the kids for showing respect, being responsible by playing fair and friendly on the day.
NAIDOC Cup is a massive day that is growing larger every year. We are always looking for volunteers, partners and sponsors to help make this day possible. If you are interested in getting involved, please contact us at email@example.com
Plogging is a Swedish concept of jogging and picking up rubbish. The word comes from the combination of jogging and the Swedish words ‘plocka upp’ meaning ‘to pick up.’
Plogging has become a worldwide phenomenon, so when one of our Cranebrook residents indicated that they were interested in starting a walking group that would also focus on the local environment, our Ploggers group was formed. The group meets each Monday morning at 9:30am at our Cranebrook Neighbourhood Centre, rain or shine!
Currently we are a group of around six who walk roughly 5km at our own pace. Picking up rubbish is your own choice and is not compulsory for you to be involved in the group.
So far, since starting the Ploggers group we have walked around 30km and have picked up around 15 large bags of rubbish. We are amazed at how quickly it all adds up and feel proud that we are doing our part to keep our neighbourhood clean. Not only are we cleaning up but when you think about how often we are bending down and squatting to pick up the rubbish, our legs are getting one heck of a work out!
This group is focused on inclusion of all. There is no pressure on how far, how fast or how much, if any, rubbish is collected. Come and join us! We would love to see this group grow. It’s a fantastic way to get fit and help the environment.
With last week being Reconciliation Week (27th May to 3rd June), NCNS began celebrations with morning activities each day with our Brekky Club kids. They created bracelets with red and yellow wool. There was a timeline of significant events in history, a slideshow of different Aboriginal videos and children wrote their names on red and yellow feet that were placed on the wall. The kids even played noughts and crosses on a rock.
On Thursday, we held the formal Reconciliation Week breakfast at our Cranebrook Neighbourhood Centre where staff, community and service providers came together in recognition of Reconciliation Week and filled their bellies with a selection of delicious bacon, egg, sausage sandwiches, fresh fruit, yoghurt and cereal.
Uncle Greg started the day with a Welcome to County. Guests enjoyed traditional dance performances by Walan Mahlee, our Aboriginal girls and boys dance groups. It was so moving to see community & service providers getting up, joining the dance groups and attempting traditional dance. It was a fantastic display of unity between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Australians
The morning was wrapped up by NCNS Managing Director Joy Impiombato.
“Thank you for coming today to show your support for Reconciliation. Thank you to Penrith Councillor Karen McKeown, Uncle Greg, the dancers, Mark and Teagan. I would also like to thank our work placement students who have been heavily involved in organising the activities this week and today.
When we think of reconciliation we think of the big historical moments and changes; government policies, legislation, the Apology, those big moments that give us hope for change. However as grassroots community development organisations we know it’s the many individual stories that contribute and give meaning to Reconciliation. One of the main elements of reconciliation is historical acceptance. Its only through these stories that we can achieve historical acceptance.
This year’s theme is “Don’t keep History, a Mystery”. As service providers, we must create the space for truth telling and educate on past wrong doings.
Historical acceptance comes with acknowledging the past and leads to recognition of the need for redress.
Other components of reconciliation include; advocating for Aboriginal representation in institutions, forums and other places where decisions are made. When this is not happening, we need to put our hands up and ask the question, ‘Are Aboriginal people at the table?”
We have to understand that things can remain ‘in progress’ and it’s about giving the process time.
The most important thing, as service providers is a consensus to address health care, education and equity & equality. Until we address these Indigenous disadvantages, we are not on the path to equity and equality. Of course, race relations, a community of trust and respect that is free from racism.
The heart of reconciliation is understanding the concept of unity, our desire to go forward as friends and equals and the importance of formal ceremonies to commemorate significant events like we are doing today.
Remember that change comes from the ground up. One voice becomes two voices, then becomes three voices which becomes change. When it feels like progress is slow, remember that we can all take steps every day because the community we have is the one we create.”
This years Seniors Festival theme was “Let’s do more together.”
Health conditions, mobility limitations and lack of energy can be detrimental to our senior’s social lives. Social isolation can cause poor emotional health, depression, high blood pressure and decreased physical health. Therefore, it is important for our senior’s to stay active with family, friends and neighbours.
So, for senior’s week, with this theme in mind, we held a Seniors Bingo and Games day at our Cranebrook Neighbourhood Centre where seniors got together for a fun and relaxing morning. They enjoyed music, morning tea, bingo and trivia. The day was a space for seniors to meet new people, share stories and ideas.
We had our fabulous finance officer, Lisa, well known for her boisterous voice, as our Bingo caller; no microphone was needed. She kept the room entertained while being on her best behaviour with her mother, Rita playing bingo with us.
A highlight of the day was a visit from the local early childhood centre whose children sang some wonderful songs.
Check out the video below of our Senior’s playing Bingo.
If you are a senior and are looking for some activities in your local area, check out the links below:
This year NCNS celebrated its first Harmony Day with a Community Feast at our Cranebrook Neighbourhood Centre. Harmony Day was an open invitation to all community members to come and celebrate the cultural diversity of our local area. Every person that attended the feast, brought with them a plate of food that represents their culture, resulting in a tasty spread of assorted cuisines.
Along with sharing delicious food, local community groups performed traditional dances including the Pacific Island Dance Troupe, the Filipino Dancers Group, the Maltese Line Dance Group and Katherine, a belly dancer from Ghawazi Caravan. It was great to see so many different cultures coming together to celebrate. We loved seeing community members get involved and having a go at the different styles of dance. We would like to thank you all for performing at our event and representing your culture.
We were thrilled to see from our feedback forms that 100% of people that attended this event, felt a sense of belonging and inclusion, enjoying the event so much that they indicated that they wanted this to become a yearly celebration. Across the board everyone that attended had an amazing day, created new friendships and formed secure partnerships with our organisation.