A week-long program of arts events hopes to rebuild community trust for a western NSW’s Aboriginal health service following an extended period of uncertainty.

After entering special administration two years ago the Bourke Aboriginal Corporation Health Service has struggled to reconnect with local mob since regaining community control in mid 2021.

Events tailored to the areas youth and creative scene could provide the breath of collectiveness sorely needed as a first step toward rebuilding trust.

The upcoming MAYI festival hopes to do just that.

BACHS social emotional wellbeing program manager Joseph Clarke said the community needed an event to rally around.

“We were very close to being shut down,” he said.

“What we needed to do was come up with a strategy to get patients, community, mob back into community controlled health care.

“It’s about promotion within community to build strengths.”

Mr Clarke said there was a raft of creative talent in the area rarely given any major backing for support and skill development.

The opportunity to provide this platform quickly became an obvious choice for rallying the community.

“These are therapies that have proven to work in the past,” Mr Clarke said.

“Poetry writing, photography, writing music, producing, videography, live sound engineering.

“Lets all come together in harmony and promote what’s good about our community.”

BACHS teamed up with Western Sydney based organisation Arts and Cultural Exchange to organise the MAYI music and arts festival for Saturday May 28 with accompanying community workshops artist residencies in the days leading up.

Malyangapa Barkindji rapper Barkaa, Gomeroi hip hop star Kobie Dee and Minjungbal-Gudjinburra rapper JK-47 are among those locked in to perform.

ACE executive director Anne Loxley said it’s exciting to bring ACE and BACHS together for the week, “coming together to focus on community, wellbeing and celebrating far west NSW”.

“We look forward to an unforgettable celebration of the Bourke community, a spark for continued positive community engagement and artistic output and, most importantly, a call to Heal Country and community,” she said.

Local businesses, additional community services and cultural Leaders from the 26 language groups in the surrounding area will join musicians and artists in Bourke for the festivities.

BACHS have maintained their focus on reintroducing culturally sensitive health services as the communities first choice.

“They will be there on hand to provide support wherever necessary,” Mr Clarke said.
“That includes domestic and family violence services, drug and alcohol services, local employment agencies.

Rugby league health campaign Deadly Blues/Maroons ambassadors and NRL players have also accepted an invitation to attend.

MAYI festival is free to all Bourke, Brewarrina and Cobar residents along with 715 health check recipients state-wide.

Workshops and residencies in the lead up are free for all to attend.