We are a social business operating from Sydney’s south at La Perouse on the northern shoreline of Botany Bay, modern Australia’s birth place and is run by award winning Aboriginal business, Koori Communications and Training who have been running cultural programs for groups for six years and have recently set up Aboriginal charity, First Hand Solutions Aboriginal Corporation to use tourism as a way of earning an income to pay for their programs for Aboriginal youth at risk.
The tour cover’s Aboriginal culture before and after the arrival of Captain Cook and the French explorer, La Perouse. Director of Koori Communications and Training, Peter Cooley, says the name Catch N Cook came about from “ my experiences/learning from parents and elders as a child where Aboriginal families from La Perouse would go to the ocean to gather and cook seafood on the rocks. Catch N Cook has recently won the Australian Econonmic Development award in the Indigenous category, and forms the basis of their new social enterprise, First Hand.
Blak markets, La Perouse
The Blak markets at La Perouse run the first sunday of every month (except January) and provide a place to sample the best of Aboriginal culture all in one place.
Directors Peter Cooly and Sarah Martin have a belief in the structure of Social Enterprise to achieve change and to provide employment opportunities for Aboriginal people as well as providing value to Elder’s knowledge which is in danger of being lost permanently. Social enterprises offer a possible response to the twin challenges of efficiency and equity: on the one hand, social enterprises aim to develop sustainable business models with efficient allocation of resources; on the other, they aim to create social benefits which are often underpinned by goals around participation and inclusion. The First Hand social enterprise was launched on Bare Island in December 2013 and will continue in 2014, the first Sunday of the month in the form of Aboriginal cultural workshops and Indigenous markets.
Go to www.firsthandsolutions.org.au to see about the Aboriginal Corporation which they have set up which is also a charity with DGR status which governs the social enterprise.
Director of Koori Communications and Training and First Hand Solutions, Peter Cooley, has been the recipient of a number of awards for the programs he has developed as well as speaking at a number of international conferences on educating Indigenous youth.
PETER’S LONG TERM VISION LEADS TO CHILDREN’S WEEK AWARD 2005
Engaging young people in education can be a tough challenge, but Peter Cooley’s racing car project for young people has not only helped them stay at school, it has won him a 2005 NSW Department of Community Services’ (DoCS) Children’s Week Award.
A La Perouse local, Peter knew that young people in the area lacked opportunities. He set about putting them on the right track by starting Racing to the Top classes for young people at risk of leaving Matraville Sports High School. “Racing to the Top has given young people in southern Sydney the opportunity to learn new skills and find pride in their own capacity to achieve,” Minister for Community Service and Youth, Reba Meagher said.
With a passion for finding a more just and equitable society, Peter has used his skills as a TAFE automotive teacher and Qantas mechanic to run a course where young people learn to build and maintain their own model racing cars. The program engages students in learning and helps to instill long term leadership and organisation skills. “The program has been successful in improving school attendance and now Peter has taken leave from his regular work to extend the program to other schools in the area,” Ms Meagher said.
Joy Murray from the Benevolent Society’s Leadership Program nominated Peter and said he was an inspiring leader who got results from young people because he was demanding and respected them. “This was Peter’s brilliant idea. There is nobody else who could have got these results out of the kids,” she said. “It’s his respect for the kids that makes it so successful – they know his uncompromising attitude is because he wants them to do well. “If this were the only thing Peter had achieved with young people in his community it would be cause for celebration, but building on this success he has offered the local schools a range of opportunities such as his Chip N Putt golf program which gives 48 mostly Aboriginal students the chance to learn golf with a professional teacher.”
La Perouse boy wins place on the Future Summit
Peter Cooley, was one of 25 young leaders from around Australia recognised at last year’s Future Summit held in Melbourne.
The Summit is the main forum for established and emerging leaders from business, government, academia and the community to discuss strategic trends and directions by Australians across all sectors of society.
Each year the Future Summit announces leadership awards for younger, rising stars in their fields who are given the opportunity to attend the forum and hear from experts in many different areas. This year’s speakers included Kevin Rudd, Ms Sharon Burrow, Dr Helen Caldicott and Mr Tom Calma … just to name a few.
Peter was recognised for the youth programs that he has developed that engage young people in education and skill development.
Peter says of his leadership style: “We all need to look to our own experience and relationships to give something back to the community we come from. “I’m promoting respect as a way to achieve my vision as that’s what I learned from my own upbringing as an Aboriginal person.
“Many people ask why my youth programs work and my answer is simple, “Respect” – it works both ways. I get results from youth because I’m strict and demand respect, good attitudes, and attendance at school. I also respect them back for rising to the challenges I set set them.”
“I’ve had to think outside the square to develop programs that keep youth engaged in education and skill-building, and I’m always searching for new ideas to help keep them focused. It can be hard selling your vision. I still find that many people who are trying to get youth on the right track would rather pay for a program that just occupies time rather than investing in a program that teaches them skills and values over a period of time.”
Peter has also been awarded the Pauline McLeod award for Reconciliation in 2006 and the 2005 NSW Children’s Week child development award.
He sat on the Board of Aboriginal Tourism Australia and the NSW Advisory Council for Recreational Fishing.
His Racing to the Top remote control race car program operates in schools and youth services across NSW and his Catch N Cook fishing program has been funded by the Federal Government to run in 10 locations across NSW.