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Maari Ma Health Aboriginal Corporation

Balranald Central School Breakfast Club

Balranald Central School Breakfast Club

Balranald NSW is close to the Victorian border with a generally low socio-economic population which supports surrounding agriculture. The demographics describ...

australia > NSW > regional
01/09/2020 > 22/12/2021


  • Tackling Inequality - Health and wellbeing
  • Supporting Indigenous Communities - Other


  • Young people (6-25)
  • Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander Peoples


Balranald NSW is close to the Victorian border with a generally low socio-economic population which supports surrounding agriculture. The demographics describe a community that is not dissimilar to other small isolated rural communities: the population is ageing although the Aboriginal population has a higher proportion under 30 years old compared to older than 30 years.

School Breakfast Clubs are known to provide a warm and welcoming space for students when they arrive at school. Volunteers and staff help set up their Breakfast Club space and provide students with a variety of healthy breakfast foods, such as cereal, toast and Milo.

Breakfast Clubs help to remove one of the barriers to learning, as when a child is hungry he or she is less likely to engage with their school work. Where food security is an issue at home, a school breakfast club encourages children to come to school. Some schools report improved punctuality and attendance as a result of having a Breakfast Club. Balranald Shire has approx. 500 families: 1200 people of whom 200 are Indigenous.

Balranald Central school has 154 students enrolled of whom 40 are Aboriginal. BCS school Principal enthusiastically supports this proposal. The school will provide the venue on the school grounds at no cost


The expectation is that BCS students will
- improve overall attendance,
- be more focussed at school when they attend,
- have access to healthier breakfast foods on a regular basis
- engage with teachers, volunteers and other ancilliary staff at school in a more relaxed setting than the classroom
- prevent ill health caused by poor breakfast choices over a lifetime (poor diet and obesity are directly associated with type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease; it is estimated that dietary factors account for 7-20% of the total burden of chronic disease in Australia)
- improve consumption of fruit (children living in the far west region have the lowest fruit intakes, compared to children in other NSW regions)
- assist in overall obesity (childhood obesity rates within the region are 6% higher in comparison to Australian rates)
- support improved educational attainment; Aboriginal children living in far west have lower levels of educational achievement; education is a huge factor likely to reduce Indigenous disadvantage, hence programs which support better school attendance are crucial.
- improve access to healthy food; this is vitally important in the prevention and management of chronic disease.

Profile of Maari Ma Health Aboriginal Corporation

Maari Ma Health Aboriginal Corporation

Maari Ma is an Aboriginal community controlled regional health services providing quality health services, social and community programs across far west NSW in the communities of Broken Hill, Wilcannia, Menindee, Ivanhoe, and Balranald. We also support Aboriginal people with chronic diseases to access specialist services across all of western NSW through the PHN-funded Marrabinya program.

We are the largest employer of Aboriginal people in the far west with more than 120 employees, 2/3 of whom are Indigenous. Our all-First Nations Board's vision is 'Aboriginal people live longer and close the gap – families, individuals and communities achieve good health, wellbeing and self-determination, supported by Maari Ma.'

We provide primary health care services to Aboriginal people and their families through a chronic disease strategy which focuses on prevention of chronic diseases, finding them early, and managing them better. We also run a significant early childhood development and wellbeing program, the Early Years, focussing on early literacy, child development and learning through play, and supporting parenting. We have been involved in a number of significant research projects over recent years, choosing carefully those which provide something of value to our communities such as the Community Safety Research Project which looked at individual, family and community violence from which we developed a regional healing program for Aboriginal people.


Funding sourceAmount
Maari Ma$1,000
Funding gap$4,000
Expense itemAmount
Food (bread, cereal, milk, butter, fruit)$5,000

Support Balranald Central School Breakfast Club

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