In 2005, Anglicare established yarnin' up, an Aboriginal advisory group to guide decision-making about how a non-Aboriginal service should respond to the needs of the Aboriginal community.
Yarnin' up consists of Aboriginal elders and staff from Aboriginal service delivery agencies and various government departments. The group meets around three times a year and discusses issues relating to service delivery to Aboriginal clients, employment of Aboriginal people and Anglicare’s relationship with the Aboriginal community.
Yarnin’ up has made many recommendations to Anglicare, including that we:
- train our staff in cultural competency;
- develop an employment strategy to increase opportunities for Aboriginal people to be employed with us and improve access to our services for Aboriginal people;
- develop Aboriginal-specific service delivery pamphlets; and
- develop protocols for acknowledging country at all public events.
While all of these activities are now underway, there is still much for Anglicare to learn as we walk together with the Aboriginal community.
Leonie Dickson is the Aboriginal Health Liaison Officer at the Royal Hobart Hospital and has been a member of yarnin' up since it started in August 2005. “I am a member of yarnin' up because Anglicare is putting its neck out there in support of the Aboriginal community in Tassie," she said. "It is good to support them so that Anglicare is getting the right information and then our community can benefit.”
Aboriginal Elder Nola Hooper agrees. “It has worked both ways – we have got information that we can share with the community and Anglicare has learned better about seeing things from the Aboriginal perspective.”