2018 Winner - Brunswick Valley Meals on Wheels

The Brunswick Valley Meals on Wheels Service won an Innovation Award for their project, Wollum Aboriginal Meals Service.

After successfully securing recurrent funding to address the unmet nutritional needs of Aboriginal people living in isolated communities across the Richmond Coastal/Hinterland and Clarence Valley Regions of Northern NSW, the service employed an Aboriginal consultant for assessments and reviews.

They also recruited 2 Aboriginal drivers to deliver culturally appropriate meals and food packs. The food is a combination of freshly cooked and frozen meals, soups, sweets, sandwiches, fresh fruit and vegetables, breakfast and snack packs. Kangaroo, barramundi, macadamia nuts, lemon myrtle and quandong plums are all on the menu to meet their client preferences.

They credit the success of the project to the cultural understanding and empathy of the staff, all who are gaining perpetual awareness of Aboriginal traditional practices and protocols, and to the invaluable partnerships with other Meals on Wheels services, Aboriginal health care and support groups in the region. The Wollum Aboriginal Meal Service is being recognised throughout the Far North Coast region, not only within the aged, disability and health care sector, but also within the homelessness and food insecurity networks and community hubs.

The project continues to grow and has enabled the active promotion of Meals on Wheels into Aboriginal communities, providing wholesome cultural food, support and socialisation to further improve their health and wellbeing. It has also highlighted the vastness of unmet need to Aboriginal communities, and Brunswick Valley Meals on Wheels encourage all Meals on Wheels services to start the conversation with Aboriginal elders and open their doors to food security options and support for this group of Australians.