Bourke Men’s Centre Project
Partner | CatholicCare Wilcannia Forbes
Location | Bourke, Australia
The Bourke Men’s Centre provides a dedicated space for Aboriginal men to meet, attend to men’s business, share stories, reconnect with their culture, spirituality and community, and become role models to other young men and boys.
The Men’s Centre is based in Bourke and was established in partnership with various local not-for-profit groups, including CatholicCare Wilcannia Forbes, which has worked in the community for over 18 years.
This project provides for the employment of a project coordinator to facilitate volunteer activities at the dedicated men’s space. The project coordinator engages men in a diverse range of activities, including peer support groups, skills workshops, behavioural-focused programs, and health education seminars.
By participating in these activities, men gain a sense of connection, build trust and feel safe to acknowledge and address issues impacting them and their families, and engage in individual and group-based activities towards change and healing.
Progress for the Bourke Men’s Centre project, delivered by local partner, CatholicCare Wilcannia Forbes, has been challenging as its success relies heavily on the full-time project coordinator. Due to COVID-19, the project partner experienced difficulty filling the role; however, this has since been rectified, and Bourke Men’s Centre is thriving again.
The project aims to reach a minimum of 30% of the adult male population of Bourke, estimated at more than 100 men. Another 250 women and children are indirect beneficiaries through the healing impact on the men’s families.
Community ownership and impact is at the heart of this project. Collaboration between representatives of the target group and the local service provider network establishes a strong foundation. CatholicCare aims to grow this collaboration by inviting more stakeholders to participate in similar initiatives.
Project participants take ownership of the content and schedule of activities, which includes:
- Peer support groups
- Working bees and men’s working groups
- Skill-focused wood and metal workshops
- Painting competitions and community days
- Behaviour-focused workshops e.g. Parenting seminars and men’s behaviour change programs
- Men’s health education e.g. healthy eating and exercising
- Father and son activities
- Mentoring and leadership training