Celebration of new beginnings for CHIRP

The end of an era and new beginnings for CHIRP Community Health were celebrated in March in a formal event to acknowledge the service’s role in the community and offer a formal farewell.

The event held in the Botanic Gardens began with a Welcome to Country from Aunty Kerri Douglas. This was followed with a formal presentation of artwork ‘Gadjigadji’ by Arkeria Rose Armstrong. Arkeria is a Gamilaraay artist who was born in Ceduna and now lives and works on Dja Dja Wurrung country.

The painting ‘Gadjigadji’ was commissioned to mark the integration of CHIRP Community Health with Castlemaine Health. The painting is a representation of CHIRP Community Health’s past achievements as well as the coming together with Castlemaine Health for future strength and growth. The painting will be held on

Ms Lexi Randall L’Estrange, previously Board Chair of CHIRP Community and now Board Director for Dhelkaya Health, said: “Hundreds of staff and volunteers over the years, and thousands of service and program users, have sought health, improved wellbeing, recovery, safety, shelter, and support from CHIRP at various stages of their lives. I’m delighted to be part of this opportunity to celebrate, express gratitude, reflect, and also to think ahead to what we want for our shared future here, healing and thriving on Dja Dja Wurrung country.”

CHIRP Community Health integrated with Castlemaine Health in October 2021. Since then, Castlemaine Health has worked to embed the social model of health principles that were so central to CHIRP’s purpose into its operations. This area of work now has a dedicated focus within Castlemaine Health’s Community Services and Wellbeing directorate.

In March 2022, Castlemaine Health integrated with Maldon Hospital to create a new organisation called Dhelkaya Health. Dhelkaya means ‘good/being healthy’ in the Dja Dja Wurrung language. Both Maldon Hospital and Castlemaine Health will be retained as registered trading names under the new overarching organisation Dhelkaya Health.

Ms Sue Race, Chief Executive Officer, said: “Working as one now under Dhelkaya Health, CHIRP, Castlemaine Health and Maldon Hospital have an opportunity to truly come together as equal partners to define a shared future, identity and values together for the benefit of our community. I’m proud of what we have achieved since our integration journey began last year and I look forward to continuing this important journey together.”

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