Our People to Live Stronger & Longer

Katungul’s Wellbeing Centre – Healthy mind, body, spirit

On the 24th of September AH&MRC visited Katungul’s Bateman’s Bay Service to see their Social Wellbeing Centre in action. The Wellbeing Centre focuses on community-orientated programs which support Aboriginal people with or at risk of chronic illness, mental health, addiction and social isolation. The Centre recognises that community members have varying levels of physical fitness and encourage people to get active in whatever way they can.

Community members warm-up before the exercise group begins

While group members had their screenings done by a Medical Practitioner, AH&MRC were able to chat to one of the Centre’s Personal Trainers, Joe White. Joe mentioned that while the Wellbeing Centre’s Programs are designed for people to get active, it’s more about people having fun and finding a sense of community connection. Laughter is encouraged as one of the best forms of medicine.

Katungul’s Wellbeing Centre is holistic, focusing on social and emotional wellbeing as well as physical exercise. While chatting to group members it became clear that the main reason people keep coming back is because of the sense of community and connection the programs offers, exercise is an added benefit.

The group do some stretching and have a laugh while they go about it

The session started with people hopping onto the exercise mats. Before the exercise kicked off, everyone paid respects to the Stepsister of one of the members who had recently passed away. Cultural safety is recognised throughout all of the Centre’s programs which encourage community members to share stories, history, family connections and, at times, their grief as well. A minute of silence passed and Joe instructed everyone to start stretching. The mood began to lift, and silence was quickly replaced by laughter and chatter.

The session heats up with group members instructed to squat against a wall and pass a ball back and forth

Things quickly amped up when Joe instructed everyone to squat against a wall in a line and pass an exercise ball back and forth. At this point it became clear who was new to the group and who was a regular – a few people couldn’t handle the heat.

The exercise regime concluded and it was time for the group to discuss the Mini Olympics, with an opportunity to rehearse their nominated dance. For information on the Aunty Jean’s Mini Koori Olympics please click here.

The group rehearse their dance for the Mini Koori Olympics

Most of the Wellbeing Centres programs finish up with lunch provided by the Service. On our visit, the lunch was a healthy spread of wraps, chicken, salad, rice crackers and avocados. Everyone involved – community members, program organisers and AH&MRC alike – gathered in Katungul’s conference room next to the gym and had a yarn over lunch. In closing, it became clear that Katungul’s Wellbeing Centre Programs offer more than just an exercise regime, but instead the opportunity to be part of a community of friends brought together by the common goal of getting healthy.

AH&MRC would like to thank Katungul Staff, Southern NSW Local Health District, Katungul’s Personal Trainer Joe White and all the participants on the day for welcoming us into the Service and allowing us to take photos for the 2020 Members Calendar.

Author – AH&MRC Communications Team