South Coast Women’s Health & Welfare Aboriginal Corporation, Waminda, will receive $4 million in funding from the Federal Government this year to sustain its programs that provide local indigenous women health and wellbeing support.
The Nowra-based service is set to receive two grants, which will fund programs over the next three years.
Waminda Chief Executive Officer Faye Worner said the funding is a significant increase from previous years.
“[The funding] is acknowledging what the programs actually cost to run and for the first time ever, it’s going to pay for the full time of running of these programs,” Ms Worner said.
The ‘Dead, or Deadly?!’ Health and Wellbeing Program will be funded by one of the grants. The program is a regional service that works with Indigenous women and their families along the South Coast.
The program focuses on chronic disease prevention and management, nutrition, physical activity and smoking cessation. The funding will aid in the continuation of a gym that Ms Worner said is an important facility for the young women.
The second grant will assist a range of programs for young Indigenous women in the region, which includes mental health wellbeing, suicide prevention, after school programs and cultural programs.
Despite the significant amount of funding, Waminda will need to apply again in order to continue its services. “We will need to conduct a whole heap of research in the next three years to get a body of evidence so that we can continue to lobby for funding,” Ms Worner said.
“There is a whole range of services, from drug and alcohol, domestic violence through to wellbeing and healing and cultural programs, which are all equally important because it’s an integrative and holistic service.”
Quality officer Lynne Dooley said inconsistent funding from the government can be a challenge for organisations like Waminda that have communities that rely on the services.
“It can be a challenge when working in the community and providing programs and services that actually make a difference, which people really take up and rely on without a future consistency… [you] are raising expectations and some of these programs are a life support for the women,” Ms Dooley said.
“The difference money will make … we can now really consolidate those programs and build on them.”
Over 100 staff members are employed at Waminda.