In response to COVID-19, we are maintaining support, while reducing risks to the people who use our services, our staff and the community Learn More

Closing the Gap Day 2022: Event reflection

Sonder’s Closing the Gap Day returns for 5th annual event

Each year, Sonder hosts Closing the Gap Day, an event aimed at supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people of all ages to learn about services available across SA that can improve their health, wellbeing and other areas of their lives.

 

Tim, Outreach Worker, Closing the Gap Integrated Team Care, and Cynthia, Aboriginal Health Manager at Sonder.

 

Closing the Gap Day brings these important service providers together in one place to share information, engage directly with community and other like-minded people and most importantly, to support the national Close the Gap campaign.

In its 5th year – not counting the two years lost to COVID – Closing the Gap Day was bigger than ever with over 1,500 guests in attendance! Featuring a huge range of over 100 stall holders, kids’ activities, a shared lunch, and a host of First Nations performers.

This incredible event would not have been possible without support from our partners. We thank Adelaide PHN, Northern Adelaide Local Health Network (NALHN), Nunkuwarrin Yunti, Country SA PHN and Westpac for supporting this important event and believing in our vision of helping people to live better lives.

Sonder has hosted Closing the Gap Day since 2015. Over the years, the event has evolved to be one of the most anticipated events in the calendar for the South Australian Aboriginal community.

“Improving an individuals’ wellbeing is central to what Sonder strives to achieve. To see so many community members connecting with a range of services that focus on this, is what makes the day so important. The energy, happiness and buzz in the room as people make connections, meet friends and have a yarn, is what truly makes the day a memorable one.” Tania Manser, Executive Manager Community Services, Sonder

 

Over 100 businesses exhibited at Closing the Gap Day 2022.

 

Closing the Gap Day 2022

As excited guests made their way into the Jubilee Pavilion at the Adelaide Showground, Ngaanyatjarra singer and songwriter, Vonda Last performed music to welcome them to the event.

A Welcome to Country ceremony was provided by Uncle Frank Wanganeen and Uncle Moogy Sumner with Isaac Hannam on Yidaki (digeridoo).

 

MC, Sean Choolburra kept the audience entertained.

 

Sean Choolburra, MC introduced and invited key speakers to the stage, Sageran Naidoo, Sonder CEO, Michelle McKay, Adelaide PHN CEO, Kurt Towers, Executive Director Aboriginal Health, Northern Adelaide Local Health Network, Watto Purrunna Aboriginal Health Services and Vicki Holmes, Nunkuwarrin Yunti CEO.

Uncle Moogy’s Tal-Kin-Jeri Dance Group kicked off the afternoon of entertainment, followed by sets from First Nations musicians, Nathan May and Eskatology.

Over 100 non-for-profit and private businesses exhibited their services on the day, providing an excellent opportunity for businesses to network and connect with one another, facilitate better service integration and an alignment of business objectives. Many of the organisations present took the opportunity to take part in discussions focused on actions that can be taken to foster respectful relationships.

 

Businesses and organisations connected with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities as well as like-minded others.

 

One exhibitor commented,

“Closing the Gap Day provides a chance to speak directly to service operators, I will be back for the next one. Fantastic numbers as well! All in all, I have to say it was a great day and I will promote it to others to go next year.”

Community members enjoyed talking with the people behind the businesses providing support to their community across a range of different areas including health, wellbeing, social issues, housing, education, disability, aged care and land and animal conservation and more.

Sonder’s partnership with charity provider, Good360 enabled us to give back to the community in a bigger way. Good360 provided Sonder with giveaway items including a great range of free clothing and Lego for families for the coming winter months. When chatting with a young mother who was selecting some clothing for her children, she commented how helpful this was as the tracksuit pants were the colour of her child’s school uniform. We look forward to partnering with Good360 again for future events.

Young people engaged in wellbeing activities in the ‘headspace Chillzone,’ facilitated by the four headspace centres operated by Sonder – headspace Adelaide, Edinburgh North, Marion and Onkaparinga as well as headspace Port Adelaide (operated by Centacare). Sonder’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Youth Peer Workers played a vital role in promoting cultural safety within this space.

 

Entertainment included Uncle Moogy’s Tal-Kin-Jeri Dance Group.

 

Sonder was proud to have several organisations on board to provide health checks, education and demonstrations at the event, including the University of South Australia’s team who facilitated Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Checks.

“Overall, the response from our community following the event has been overwhelmingly positive. We could not have held such a meaningful, engaging and successful event without our valued partners, Sonder’s Aboriginal Reference Group and the Closing the Gap Day Steering Committee.” – Sageran Naidoo, Sonder CEO

 

Sonder acknowledges this event took place on Kaurna Country. We recognise the Kaurna people as the Traditional Owners of this land and that their cultural, spiritual, physical and emotional connection is still as strong and special as it was eighty-thousand years ago. We pay our deepest respects to the Elders past, present and emerging.