Dean Loadsman and Roger Duroux in their welcome to country address at the Grafton Big Picnic in Market Square park.
Dean Loadsman and Roger Duroux in their welcome to country address at the Grafton Big Picnic in Market Square park.

$30,000 grant lifeline thrown to Aboriginal healing centre

A SMALL indigenous organisation that has been punching above its weight in the Clarence Valley community has secured a vital grant that will keep it operating until the end of the year.

The Clarence Valley Aboriginal Healing Centre co-ordinator, Dean Loadsman, said this week the centre was offered a $30,000 grant.

The cash injection has been a welcome for the organisation, first established in 2013 to provide support services to the Clarence Valley Aboriginal community.

Mr Loadsman said it had originally received funding to employ himself and two support workers, but the loss of funding in the past 12 months had reduced the staff to only him working three days a week.

He said the latest grant was to enable a six-month program to enable the community to combat the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic and restrictions.

“It doesn’t have a wage component, but it does have guidelines for services we can offer,” he said.

Mr Loadsman said he would try to shape the grant to include some service the centre offered the Clarence community.

But he said for the healing centre to function properly it was vital to attract more secure funding and create its own income stream.

His vision for the centre would include funding for two to three year blocks, plus a strong fee for service component.

“This is important for us so we can develop the programs we know the community needs,” he said.

“It would also provide that continuity so the community knows the services will be available when needed.”

Mr Loadsman said there was grant funding available, particularly in the arts and culture sector, which would be a good fit with the aims of the healing centre.

He said the healing centre struggled because its size put it up against bigger organisations, even though its applications had merit.

“Feedback received from the Stronger Country Communities funding body, said we made a strong application, met eligibility criteria and the program was viable,” he said.

“Feedback received was that unfortunately as a small Aboriginal organisation we are on the bottom of the pile when it comes to prioritising of funding.”

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