A Program Co-designed with Aboriginal Stakeholders

DRUMBEAT, the world’s leading therapeutic drumming program, has been achieving remarkable social outcomes across Australia and around the world.

Independent research has proved that DRUMBEAT helps enhance community involvement, resilience and wellbeing. This evidence-based program brings people together to explore and improve resilience, mental wellbeing, self-confidence, relationships, team work, and to seek solutions for a range of social/emotional issues. Please click here to access the comprehensive research.

Holyoake has expanded DRUMBEAT significantly by training professionals from other organisations to become Facilitators. This has resulted in a global community of over 7,000 Facilitators… and growing!

We are now in the process of co-designing a unique Indigenous DRUMBEAT Program with a wide range of Aboriginal stakeholders. We are very grateful to Healthway WA for funding this project.

Indigenous DRUMBEAT Program Stakeholders

Boab Health • Aarnja • Broome Recovery Centre • Kimberley Mental Health and Drug Service Team (KMHDS)
Marnja Jarndu (Women’s Shelter) • KAMSC –  Kimberley Aboriginal Medical Service
Department of Health • Department of Justice – West Kimberley Regional Youth Justice
Department of Communities • Shire of Broome
Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) • Agunya
Broome Men’s Outreach – Change ’em Ways Team • Cyrenian House
Anglicare • Broome Circle House • Milliya Rumurra Alcohol & Drug Rehabilitation Centre
Headspace • Broome Regional Prison • West Kimberley Regional Prison
St Mary’s College • Derby Youth Centre
University of Western Australia

Music has been an intrinsic aspect of Aboriginal culture for centuries.

Music has always been a powerful way to communicate meaningfully and to bring people together to address issues. While the DRUMBEAT community includes many Aboriginal Facilitators, we identified the need to develop a customised program that would be culturally sensitive and carefully adapted for indigenous communities.

In 2019, Healthway WA accepted our proposal to develop a customised Indigenous DRUMBEAT Program that would be co-designed with Aboriginal stakeholders. This project is now underway and progressing rapidly.

We are working with the Kimberley Child Safety Directors Group (CSDG) as a Project Management Committee across the Kimberley. We aim to provide overall project guidance and will provide regular updates in person in Broome and via video links to the group in other locations.

Our Community Working Group (CWG1) for the Broome and Derby pilots had 3 consultations between March and August 2020 – before COVID-19 border restrictions interrupted this process. The next round of consultations in October 2020 will involve 15 local service providers in the program development process.

Consultations external to the CWG1 have been held with:

The DRUMBEAT team and trainers to gain their advice about customising the program. These trainers have delivered
DRUMBEAT in Indigenous contexts and with Aboriginal people around Australia.

DRUMBEAT trained facilitators in the Kimberley that deliver to groups of Aboriginal young people.

DRUMBEAT facilitators around Australia who deliver in an Indigenous context.

Cultural Reference Group

We have established a Cultural Reference Group with Aboriginal representatives from agencies involved in this project. The first meeting was held on January 29, 2020 to develop cultural elements of the customisation. This group agreed on key principles to protect the integrity and Aboriginal ownership of the project and to promote capacity building and sustainability through the region for the long term. The 2 key principles are:

1. The trained program facilitators are required to self-determine the cultural protocols for their own communities – relying on their own spiritual guidance and accepting guidance relevant to elders and community members from that country where Indigenous DRUMBEAT is being delivered, as they deem appropriate.

2. The primary facilitator of Indigenous DRUMBEAT must be Indigenous. The co-facilitator can be non-Indigenous but cannot lead cultural discussions. This has been discussed with several key stakeholders with 100% support. This is intended to protect the cultural integrity of the program – being an Indigenous healing program for Aboriginal people, co-designed and delivered by Aboriginal people within their local communities.

We are very pleased that service providers participating in the CWG1 are very keen to deliver pilots in both Broome and Derby. Most of them would like to integrate the Indigenous DRUMBEAT Program into their ongoing service delivery.

In a positive development, we have revised our initial plan to send Aboriginal staff from one or two agencies down to Perth to be trained and return to Broome or Derby. We will now send a DRUMBEAT Master Trainer to Broome to train staff of organisations intending to deliver pilot programs. As a result, many more staff will have the opportunity to be trained and this strengthens the sustainability and capacity building aspects of this project.

Phase 1 Pilot Programs

We are currently working with the following service providers to deliver Phase 1 pilot programs in Broome and Derby:

St Mary’s School: Children 8-12 and Youth 13-17

Youth Justice/Corrective Services: Youth 13-17

West Kimberley Regional Prison: Adult Women and Adult Men (TBC)

Broome Prison: Adult Men’s Program

Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS): Youth 13-17 (TBC)

Milliya Rumurra Aboriginal Family Residential Rehabilitation Service

Project Timeline

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the timeline has been readjusted as follows:

Phase 1 pilots in Broome and Derby are scheduled to commence at the start of School Term 2 2020.

Phase 2 pilots are scheduled to commence at the second location in a minor regional town (TBC).

The final facilitator training program is scheduled to be delivered in Broome in March 2022.

All stakeholders involved in this project agree that it has tremendous potential to make a positive impact in Aboriginal communities.

For more information please contact the Project Manager Renee Hine via email rhine@holyoake.org.au or call 08 9416 4444.