Yarning Circle looking to expand connection

Aunty Cheryl

  • Local Indigenous yarning circle has been successfully run for over a year in Perth.
  • Participants have enjoyed positive social interactions and time with Elders.

For the last three years, Noongar elder and APM Communities team member, Aunty Cheryl Taylor has run a weekly yarning circle involving Aboriginal people with disability at Armadale’s Champion Centre.

The program was created to fill the need for a social, culturally appropriate program for Indigenous Australians with and NDIS plan.

The yarning circle is facilitated by an Aboriginal provider, used by the wider community so participants often catch up with family and friends from the community and other services.

It has given a positive boost to social connection in the local community.

The importance of the yarning group is that it gives Aboriginal participants who attend the group an opportunity to engage with other Aboriginal people on a regular basis.

Attendees are provided with lunch, with the option to participate in cultural and social activities which include art, music, language, and excursions.

APM Participants are offered the opportunity to initially attend, so they can decide if they want to participate further.

Expanding the circle

The circle has become a valuable community event, with one participant describing the group as “like a family”.

They went on to share their enjoyment, “I love them all, it makes me happy when I’m with them.”

“I like the Support Workers who provide us with good support, I like all the staff at the Champion Centre, I love the activities, my paintings, helping other people and have a yarn with them.”

Since its inception, the group continues to grow. It has increased in popularity so much the facilitator is considering running it on more than one day to accommodate more participants.

To make the circle available in more places, the teams involved are looking for other community spaces and are looking at acquiring a community bus.

Improving connection in community

Yarning circle attendees are also joined by a group of Elders each week.

These relationships, and the environment provide regular positive interactions for participants, which helps them to manage living with disability in their own context.

Through the yarning circle, they have a space where their voices are heard and respected, along with an opportunity to share their stories.

The outcomes are the significant improvement in the participants’ mental health, personal confidence, general wellbeing.

“I’ve been coming here for 5 years, and I’ve received a lot of support from all the people, even the Elders” a participant shared.

“I like to help others with their needs – I talk to the other participants, the carers and the staff to give them my support it helps me build a relationship with them all” they added.

“I feel better for coming here it has had a positive effect on my mental health and I just want thank the people here for helping me.”

APM Communities delivers NDIS Partners in the Community services in parts of Western Australia, Queensland, and the Northern Territory.

Our Local Area Coordinators (LACs) help people with disability, National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) participants, families and carers to identify and access the support they need.