An innovative program created to build stronger communities in Charleville and Cunnamulla has been recognised at the prestigious Queensland Health and Department of Health Awards for Excellence.

Project HOPE – which stands for Harmony, Opportunity, Pride and Empowerment – is a South West Hospital and Health Service (South West HHS) youth focused initiative which has been operating since 2015.

The HOPE Project team won the Promoting Wellbeing category and were finalists in the Regional, Rural and Remote award for Outstanding Achievement category.

South West HHS Chief Executive Linda Patat said this fantastic achievement was testament to the depth of talent, passion and commitment health service staff brought to local communities.

“This year, the highest number of nominations in the awards history were received, with over 200 nominations coming from all corners of the state,” Ms Patat said.

“The judging is a rigorous process and I am very proud of the HOPE team for being amongst the impressive list of finalists.

“The recognition of HOPE is a fine example of what can be achieved through a whole-of-community approach to supporting young people to lead healthy lifestyles and reach their full potential.”

HOPE Project partners include the Murweh Shire Council, Paroo Shire Council, Charleville and Western Areas Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders Community Health, Cunnamulla Aboriginal Corporation for Health, Queensland Police Service, Charleville State High School, Charleville State School, St Mary’s School, Charleville, Sacred Heart School Cunnamulla and Cunnamulla P-12 State School

Among their most recent achievements, the HOPE project was proud to have played an instrumental role in bringing Bangarra Dance Theatre’s Rekindling program to Charleville.

The team were responsible for brokering the partnership between Bangarra and Charleville State High School and in garnering broad community support for the three-year initiative.

Senior HOPE Project Officer Suzanne Eustace-Earle said earlier this year Bangarra’s Rekindling Program Team brought local Bidjara Elders and Charleville secondary school students together to share their stories through dance.

“The students learned and rehearsed Bangarra repertoire,” Ms Eustace-Earle said.

“They also created their own dances based on their ideas and feelings about being on Country.

“The life stories of the Bangarra crew resonated with the Charleville students, who had shared experiences growing up Indigenous in remote communities.

“These professional dancers were living examples of how Indigenous people from the bush had become successful on the world stage by making healthy choices from a young age.

“I am incredibly proud to be part of the HOPE team, which also includes Project Manager Miriam Airey and Acting Senior Project Officer Jennifer Peacock.”

The awards ceremony was held at the Brisbane City Hall on Tuesday, 11 December.

The 2018 Queensland Health and Department of Health Awards for Excellence recognise initiatives and teams who have demonstrated a commitment to excellence when supporting or delivering health services to Queenslanders.

The awards allow the entire department and Hospital Health Service network an opportunity to acknowledge the significant work being developed and delivered across Queensland Health and Queensland Ambulance Service.


For further information contact:

Stephanie Kay

Public Affairs Officer

South West Hospital and Health Service

0447 645 315