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Big Buddy program empowers young Chinchilla locals 

February 25, 2022

Goondir Health Services’ Big Buddy program has been supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander teenagers in regional Queensland communities since 2016.

The Big Buddy program was extended into Chinchilla State High School in July 2021 thanks to funding from the Darling Downs and West Moreton PHN. The program aims to empower locals aged 12-17 and is founded on the principle of ‘SIMPLE’; Social Inclusion, Mentorship, Providing Life skills and Education.

Executive of Strategy and Planning at Goondir Health Services, Shubham Weling can already see a positive impact the program is having in Chinchilla.

“Our Chinchilla kids join weekly at-school activities such as boxing, strategy games, footy sessions, and on some weekends attend day trips, cultural workshops and health camps,” said Mr Weling.

“The companionship and social aspect of the program supports the improvement of student retention in schooling and formal education.”

The success of the Chinchilla-based program is the result of Goondir, the PHN and Chinchilla State High School working together. There are 35 participants involved in the Chinchilla program with three of the students taking on leadership roles within the school this year.

“Our participants always do us proud – we have a school captain, a sports captain and a cultural captain who are all a part of the Big Buddy program, another student has been offered a role as a Pharmacy Assistant upon completion of their studies,”

The Big Buddy program continues to grow and is now delivered in four locations and has over 200 participants making a positive impact in their local communities.

Goondir Health Services is Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Service (ACCHS) that provides holistic health services to the local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities across Queensland.