Members of the Westmead Redevelopment’s project team recently returned to The Shed to chat to Aboriginal community members, providing an update on the cultural gathering place and other community areas in the new hospital building.
The Shed was established in 2004, as a partnership between Western Sydney University, Men's Health Information and Resource Centre, and the Holy Family Church at Mount Druitt. The Shed provides support to at-risk men and families in disadvantaged situations – many are Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander.
Westmead Redevelopment project director Carla Edwards said the ongoing visits to Aboriginal Elders, community members and staff at The Shed had been integral to the design of public areas of the new hospital building, including the cultural gathering place.
“Our community members are helping us create an amazing cultural gathering place. It will be somewhere for people to come to feel culturally safe and welcome. It will be a place for sorry business, and the landscaped areas will be a great place for Aboriginal Elders and community members to hold small ceremonies and events, including smoking ceremonies,” Carla said.
New artist’s impressions of the cultural gathering place will be released soon. These images will reflect changes suggested during visits to The Shed.
Westmead Hospital Aboriginal liaison officer Narelle Holden said the Westmead Redevelopment project’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legacy Strategy and Action Plan is one of many ways that the project is making long-lasting change at Westmead.
“The community members at The Shed are one of many groups we yarn with on an ongoing basis,” she said.
“We value the time everyone there has taken to hear about what is proposed for Westmead. We have heard lots of great ideas for the new and refurbished spaces, as well as changes to how we deliver healthcare.”