Pinangba Celebrates 10 Years of Service

December 21, 2022

Traditional song, dance and a smoking ceremony from Minjil, welcomed visitors to celebrate 10 years of Pinangba, our First Nations-led, independent business unit of UnitingCare that operates in partnership with BlueCare.

Held at BlueCare’s Hollingsworth Elders Village, the celebration recognised Pinangba’s aged care, respite, family therapy and drug and alcohol rehabilitation services which operate in many communities across Queensland, from the Torres Strait Islands in the north, to Cherbourg in the west.

UnitingCare Group Executive Aged Care & Community Services Cathy Thomas, said the services have continued to expand and evolve since 2012 when five services joined the BlueCare family.

“We welcomed Shalom Elders Village and Stagpole Street Drug & Alcohol Unit in Townsville, Hollingsworth Elders Village in Cairns, Star of the Sea Elders Village on Thursday Island and the Cape York Family Centre which was only in project stage at the time”.

“Ny-Ku Byun Elders Village in Cherbourg joined in 2016 and was rebranded to Pinangba in 2018,” said Cathy.

“One thing that hasn’t changed is our commitment to deliver innovative, culturally informed services that help progress self-determination for First Nations peoples”.

The foundations of Pinangba are built from cultural identity and strong community relationships and partnerships. This commitment to collaboration has been instrumental to Pinangba’s long-term success.

Acknowledging the milestone, Uniting Church Queensland Synod Moderator Rev Andrew Gunton said that the best outcomes come from working with and for our First Nations brothers and sisters.

“It is exciting to see the work in Pinangba and the way it nurtures physical, mental and spiritual healing,” Rev Gunton said.

“This is a real cause for celebration and hope for the future”.

Speaking of Pinangba’s milestone and newly developed 3-year strategy, Mia Hampson, a proud Koori, Wananginni woman and Strategy Manager at Pinangba, spoke to the importance of the service.

“I am thrilled to be part of something special and incredibly important,” Mia shared.

“Pinangba is committed to closing the gap in partnership with UnitingCare.

“The new Pinangba strategy has been developed with careful consideration to the National Agreement on Closing the Gap and its 17 national socio-economic targets.

“This strategy has been formulated to create impact and change in many of the national agreement targets,” said Mia.

"Our strategic focus areas have been identified to ensure capability and future planning is created to progress Self-Determination for the communities we serve.”

The four strategic focus areas introduced on the day included Governance, Leadership and Workforce Development, Communities We Serve, and Service Delivery.

“For Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, good health is more than the absence of disease or illness.

“It is a holistic concept that includes physical, social, emotional cultural and spiritual wellbeing, for both the individual and the community,” she said.

Andrea Fox, General Manager for Pinangba, spoke to the bond that has been built between Pinangba’s team and the communities they serve and its importance to Pinangba’s success.

“Being a part of Pinangba is more than just a job, it is the personal touches and the caring nature that each of us bring to these services,” she shared.

“It is our leaders picking people up on their way to work who need care, our service managers giving Elders a haircut because they trust no one else, our leaders going into our services at all times of the morning because they don’t want our Elders being along in their last hours.

“Social justice is not a day job, it is something you live and breathe, it lights the fire in the belly of all our Pinangba employees.

“We are very proud of this body of work and whilst we acknowledge that this is a marathon, not a race, we do look forward to hitting the ground running in 2023 with the delivery of this strategy,” she said.