It takes more than a global pandemic to derail Mornington Peninsula Shire Council’s support for its community, and the Balee Group is no exception. While the Peninsula forges through the restrictions imposed under Stage 4 lockdown, the Indigenous program is powering through the pandemic and adapting to keep the service alive.
The Balee Group takes a holistic approach to enhance the social, emotional, physical and spiritual well-being of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community across the Peninsula. The program provides a range of activities that promote social connections, enhance individual health and well-being and support independent living at home and in the community. Members have received check-in phone calls and home visits where appropriate, information about community care packages and delivered meal provisions to keep people feeling safe and connected.
The Balee Group’s community-based activities include arts and crafts, cultural and community events and connection to local gathering places. Monthly art packages have been delivered to group members, drawing inspiration from important events such as National Reconciliation Week and NAIDOC Week.
Supported by Shire and Federal Government funding, the Balee Group is free for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 50 and over and for people with a disability, and in place of weekly meetings led by the Shire’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community and access support officer during COVID-19, members are still receiving support.
“The Balee Group is just one of the ways we support and recognise the First People of what is now known as the Mornington Peninsula: the Bunurong/Boon Wurrung People of the Kulin Nation,” said Mornington Peninsula Mayor Sam Hearn. “We have an important role to play in promoting and celebrating Aboriginal cultural heritage, arts and cultures as part of the intrinsic identity and value of the Mornington Peninsula. We are proud to support our Indigenous community when they need us the most. This pandemic won’t stop us from celebrating and helping our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community.”
For more information about the Balee Group, visit www.mornpen.vic.gov.au/warringinee or contact the group on 5950 1108.