UCWB Stories

UnitingCare Wesley Bowden (UCWB) marked a new direction for the organisation with the launch of its Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP).

Amid music and art created and performed by Aboriginal people and a Welcome to Country by Kaurna Elder Uncle Lewis O’Brien, dozens of UCWB staff and guests including Board members applauded the launch of the RAP.

The centrepiece of the event was a specially commissioned painting Looking across Kaurna Plains by Kaurna/Ngarrindjeri man Paul Herzich, which will hang in UCWB’s head office in Bowden with digital copies in the three other UCWB offices.

(Above) Looking across Kaurna Plains by Paul Herzich.

A worthy backdrop was music performed by John Baker’s The Baker Suite with Barkindji woman Nancy Bates singing three songs, stirring the crowd into an enthusiastic sing-a-long to Black fella, White fella originally recorded by the Warumpi Band in the 1980s.

The Baker Suite opened with a song dedicated to Uncle Lewis, Something out of nothing, and was followed by a brief history of the development of the UCWB RAP by Executive Manager, Child & Family Services, Rochelle Hay, on behalf of Chief Executive Fiona Kelly who was unable to attend.

“Our goal is to build a culturally competent organisation where reconciliation is embedded throughout UCWB by making changes from within.” Rochelle Hay.

(Above) John Baker of The Baker Suite and Nancy Bates perform.

Rochelle thanked the Aboriginal Reference Group, led by Yvonne Agius, for their guidance in assisting the UCWB RAP Working Group, led by Wendy Radbone, in developing the RAP which was endorsed by Reconciliation Australia in September 2017.

The UCWB RAP has three key focus areas:

  • Relationships
  • Respect
  • Opportunities

“Our goal is to build a culturally competent organisation where reconciliation is embedded throughout UCWB by making changes from within,” Rochelle told the gathering.

“UCWB is taking action by focusing on making our services more accessible to all people. Ensuring we have culturally competent staff which is reflected in the way our programs engage with Indigenous peoples.

“In addition, we have also taken the decision at the organisational level to, where possible, partner with Aboriginal-controlled agencies in the development and delivery of services and intervention models.

“These partnerships are based on mutual respect, shared learning and joint capacity building.”

Rochelle said that UCWB has entered into the RAP process with a genuine intention on the part of UCWB to redress hundreds of years of disenfranchisement of Aboriginal people.

“We are committed to progressing reconciliation through our employment practices and through our partnerships,” Rochelle said.

(Above) Rochelle Hay, Angela Bruce, Uncle Lewis and Yvonne Agius.

“Reconciliation requires every one of us to give a personal commitment to understand what has gone before, what is occurring now and supporting in whatever way we can to achieve better outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and communities.”

“These partnerships are based on mutual respect, shared learning and joint capacity building.”

Paul Herzich treated the gathering to a description of his painting as an aerial view of the Adelaide Plains from the hills to the sea and framed by a setting sun, with stringybark, pigface, mangroves and eucalyptus on either side of the River Torrens.

The launch, held in the Lounge on Gibson at UCWB’s head office in Bowden, was hosted by General Manager Corporate Services, Angela Bruce, and staff and guests enjoyed bush tucker treats and afternoon tea.

In attendance were Board members Carolyn Rowe, Erma Ranieri and Angela De Duonni and the State Manager of Reconciliation SA, Mark Waters.

Read the UCWB Reconciliation Action Plan.

UCWB staff and guests sing along with The Baker Suite and Nancy Bates.