A new community-led Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Centre called ‘Cooinda’ was officially opened in the City of Brimbank this week.
Council has joined with Cooinda Community Group to provide a culturally safe and welcoming space that offers programs for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders in Brimbank.
“We are delighted to have a place where Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living in Brimbank can connect on a regular basis,” Brimbank Mayor Cr Bruce Lancashire said.
“Cooinda is an Aboriginal word meaning ‘Happy Place’ and this is indeed the intention.”
This is the first dedicated Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community Centre in Brimbank.
It will be led by members of the local Aboriginal community, the Cooinda Community Group.
Located in Furlong Road, Sunshine North, Cooinda is a place where communities can come together to connect with each other and enhance reconciliation, healing and wellbeing.
Cooinda is currently operating three days a week, offering a Koorie Homework Club, Elders’ group, art classes and yarning circles.
Over time the Centre will provide a diverse range of programs, events and activities to the whole of Brimbank.
Brimbank Council has welcomed the $184,000 in Victorian Government funding for Council to work in partnership with the local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community to establish the ‘Cooinda’ Centre. This funding is over two years under the Neighbourhood House Coordination Program.
“We thank the Victorian Government for the funding which has assisted Council to work alongside Aboriginal Elders and community leaders to provide a much-needed welcoming space for programs and activities,” said the Mayor.
Cooinda Community Group spokesperson and Aboriginal Elder Graham Cooper (Uncle Boots) also offered thanks and said “We’re enjoying having a meeting place where the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community can connect, heal and learn from each other and for the Elders to pass on knowledge.”