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 in disadvantaged situations, many of whom are Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander.
The workers at the Shed - Rick Welsh and Don Mulholland - listen to the men and offer them support from public housing providers, legal services or financial counsellors.
The Westmead Redevelopment project team has made multiple trips to The Shed, as part of its work on the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legacy Strategy. The strategy makes a number of commitments to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, with a focus on creating a welcoming, safe and connected environment in the new hospital building and refurbished spaces.
The focus for each visit to The Shed has been to capture feedback from health service users about their experiences at Westmead and to hear their stories. On the most recent visit representatives of Westmead Hospital and The Children’s Hospital at Westmead’s emergency departments also attended.
Project director Carla Edwards championed the importance of the project team visiting community outreach centres like The Shed.
“It really offers our project an opportunity to become better educated around the issues and difficulties currently associated with the provision of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health services,” she said.
“Ultimately, it’s critical we get it right here at Westmead while we’re building new facilities and models of care, so all of the feedback we’re receiving is informing the delivery of our legacy strategy for Westmead, as we build a more open dialogue with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. It’s also equally important that some of our clinical team representatives were on-hand during our last visit to develop a greater understanding of Aboriginal culture which can be then applied at the forefront of our healthcare services in areas like Emergency.
“A key piece of work associated with this is our new cultural gathering place, which will be located near the entrance to the new building. A large amount of the feedback received has been about the need for a culturally significant space, which can be utilised as a purpose-built gathering point for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and others.
“We’ll be continuing our visits to The Shed to gather as much feedback as possible as we move towards the completion of our new hospital building in 2020. We’re also excited about our opportunities for collaboration with local artists as part of our arts and culture program at Westmead.”