Just for the health of it!

Aputula logo

Aputula Aboriginal Corporation ICN 7472 (Community Store)

Aputula Community, NT: It has been a very busy and very healthy 2012 for the people of Aputula community in Central Australia—and it looks like 2013 is going to be even busier. Thanks to the Aputula Aboriginal Corporation, which governs the community’s local store, some very exciting work is underway. With the push of a strong Aboriginal committee, the store has been implementing a holistic approach to the health, social and emotional wellbeing of the 250 or so people that make up Aputula’s population. All this is being done through healthy promotional messaging in the store.

Aputula is a remote Aboriginal community located on the South-side of Alice Springs, 159 km east of the Stuart Highway near the South Australia and Northern Territory borders. On most maps the community is known as Finke, which is the whitefella name for the township as well as for the large river running alongside it.

The store is one of a small number of businesses and the corporation is very committed to using it in a way that makes a difference in the community. Over the last 12 months many initiatives have been implemented to promote a healthier lifestyle to the people in the community.

One initiative involved the introduction of the Aputula Healthy Community Days. In July and December 2012 the corporation ran these days to promote messages of health and to raise awareness throughout the community.

Children lining up to receive their healthy tucker at Aputula Healthy Community Day, July 2012

Store manager of 18 months, Nigel Pratt, explains ‘the Healthy Community Days have all kinds of activities for children and community, all around promoting the healthy initiatives of the store. There is healthy food, recently it was tacos; then we have games for children; and prizes to be won for the families who purchased the freshest produce from the store throughout the previous months.’

Children lining up to receive their healthy tucker at Aputula Healthy Community Day, July 2012

The days are funded entirely through the store and aim to reward the lifestyle changes evolving within the community.

Community cooking up a storm at the Aputula Healthy Community Day, July 2012

Nigel says the committee are very strong and the members are the ones who drive these initiatives.

‘Another thing the directors have done is to create a ‘health initiatives pricing category’ where they make sure the products that are rated “healthy” attract a lower mark up. These products are then displayed with a large green label saying “Healthy Aboriginal family”. Then when families buy fruit and veg they get an AFL card. If they collect nine cards they go into a draw to win prizes which are drawn at the Healthy Community Days.’

Some of the prizes on show at the Aputula Healthy Community Day, December 2012

This hard work is definitely paying off! ‘In the last year fruit and veg sales alone have gone up 50 per cent in the community. To add to that diet soft drinks now outsell the sugary kind!’

Corporation chairperson, Barelldah Coombes is thrilled with the outcomes the corporation has managed to accomplish. ‘We are very proud of what our corporation has achieved in the last 18 months both in respect to the exciting health initiatives that we have introduced and also in relation to the greatly improved governance of our store and the accurate and up to date financial reporting. We look forward to doing more things in 2013 which will benefit the community.’

The corporation receives messages of praise from miles away from people who have heard of the different initiatives the store is implementing and the positive effect it is having on the community.

There is no doubt Aputula Aboriginal Corporation is committed to this new healthy lifestyle. It is a win-win situation with the community sharing in the healthy choices and fresh produce.

For more information or to help support this wonderful work please go to www.facebook.com/aputulacommunitystore#!/aputulacommunitystore.

Photos: All photos courtesy of Aputula Aboriginal Corporation and used with permission.
Top: Aputula logo
Second: Children lining up to receive their healthy tucker at Aputula Healthy Community Day, July 2012
Third: Aputula Healthy Community Day, December 2012
Fourth: Community cooking up a storm at the Aputula Healthy Community Day, July 2012
Last: Some of the prizes on show at the Aputula Healthy Community Day, December 2012.