Tobwabba Aboriginal Men’s Group

Proud members of the Tobwabba Men's Group, Merv Cobb, Ness Stewart, Matt Smith Ray Long , Clayton Stewart , and front Brando Ridgeway. Absent Lane Simon.
Proud members of the Tobwabba Men's Group, Merv Cobb, Ness Stewart, Matt Smith Ray Long , Clayton Stewart , and front Brando Ridgeway. Absent Lane Simon.

It’s been man’s ‘affliction’ for generations – men find it easier to walk away and ignore a problem.

But, through the establishment of groups specifically targeted towards men, this problem is slowly dissipating.

A men’s group can be a great support when you are going through a tough time in your life and need support, Hunter New England Local Health District senior Aboriginal health education officer, Elliott “Ness” Stewart said.

“A men’s group can also be a place where you celebrate the successes in your life or explore what is possible in your life,” Mr Stewart said.

“A men’s group can be a place where you would like to meet other Aboriginal men in your community. 

“A men’s groups can be a place where you just want to come and yarn with the lads. “

Mr Stewart was talking about the Tobwabba Aboriginal Men’s Group which was established in 2009 following an identified need by members of the community.

The group meets on a  a fortnightly basis, in a safe and comfortable environment where men can discuss a range of important community matters are affecting Aboriginal Men.

“We develop and implement strategies for the men involved so that we can help, support and guide them through their journey around health, diet, employment and basic life skills.”

These skills are complemented with a range of more cultural activities such as art and Didgeridoo making along with talks from guest speakers and physical activities.

“As a senior Aboriginal health worker with Hunter New England Local Health District, each year we like to engage with other service providers to discuss the importance of health issues that affect Aboriginal men on a daily basis.

“Throughout the year in our men’s group meetings, this information is delivered to the men with open discussions and listening to yarns about drug and alcohol, diabetes, cancer, mental health, heart disease and future employment.

“This information is vital and helps educate our men and community.

“These connections with local health service providers have helped guide and support our group and we have had some great outcomes which include: mental health improvements, men incorporating physical activity into their lives and others who have now gained employment, and that’s just to mention a few.”

Mr Stewart acknowledged the generosity of immunisation officer, Patrick Cashman who sponsored specially designed dress shirts for the group, while Tobwabba Aboriginal Medical Service CEO Lisa Orcher provided the meeting room along with a healthy, nutritional fortnightly lunch.

Shirts are worn only at meetings and special occasions

“We are seeking more men to be involved with the Forster Aboriginal Men’s Group,” Mr Stewart said.

If you would like to be a part of the group or would like more information contact president, Ray Long on 0422 825 909 or Ness Stewart 0400 032 604