Thursday, 08 August 2019

Walking Together in Redfern

Written by By Stuart McMillan, UCA Assembly Consultant Covenanting

A community collaboration led by Paddington Children’s Centre has brought new life to the Aboriginal Children’s Service (ACS) in Redfern.

The ACS is one of the enduring organisations that started up within the Aboriginal community movement in Redfern in the 1970s.

Over the past 12 months, the historic four-storey terrace of the ASC has been fully restored thanks to the support of more than 50 local business donating supplies and services.

As a result of the transformation, a new playgroup will begin at the centre providing a quality early childhood program for Aboriginal children in the inner-city area.

This inspiring and hopeful story began with a strong commitment to being in relationship and covenant as First and Second Peoples.

Paddington Children’s Centre is an activity of Uniting NSW/ACT Synod at Paddington Uniting Church and is deeply committed to its Reconciliation Action Plan.

Director Natalie Cordukes is a champion for the way First Nations perspectives are woven into the fabric of all that happens there.

Over the last couple of years, a strong relationship has grown between Natalie, Paddington Children’s Centre and the women who are the Aunties (Elders) for the ACS.

The restoration project emerged out of Paddington Reconciliation Action Plan and a commitment to partner with local Aboriginal organisations to support closing the gap initiatives for local Aboriginal children in their broader community.

Natalie has co-ordinated the project and engaged the broader community, working closely with the ACS committee throughout the process.

Describing the project, Natalie said, “The process of engaging others has allowed me to advocate for better outcomes for our First Nations children, while also fostering an understanding of the importance of partnerships and culturally informed approaches.”

“The generosity from the community has been extraordinary.”

As a result, the space will be available for Aboriginal children for many years to come, building on the legacy of ACS and the many incredible Aboriginal trailblazers committed to addressing Aboriginal disadvantage.

Supporters gathered to celebrate this inspiring covenanting and community collaboration on Friday 2 August, first at Reconciliation Park, then at the ACS Centre. It was officially opened to the community on 4 August for Aboriginal Children’s Day.

The ACS Community project is a fine example of what covenant relationship with the wider Indigenous community can be for the UCA.

Significantly, these relationships have encouraged the wider community collaboration and in this, the Church has enabled First and Second Peoples to walk together.

Read more about the ASC Community Restoration Project.