NCIE have a long history of partnering with organisations across Redfern and the wider Sydney area since first opening in 2010.

One of the partnerships which has been especially important is with home care provider, Australian Unity. 

NCIE and Australian Unity have worked together on many projects over the years, including NCIE Elder’s Olympics and at various TATU workshops.

Things ramped up during the height of COVID, when Australian Unity reached out to NCIE to have meals delivered to home care clients.

Since June 2020, NCIE Hospitality staff have prepared over 80 delicious, Indigenous-inspired meals for Australian Unity’s Elders each day. 

NCIE’s Business Development Manager Raquel Rebaque said Australian Unity is a very important client who helped drive repeat business during the pandemic.

“Working in partnership with Australian Unity has meant that we’ve developed a relationship where they can provide valuable and honest feedback on our service and we can improve wherever we need to,” she added.

Every morning, NCIE meals are delivered to the Elders, with a new menu available each month.

Julie from Australian Unity picking meals from NCIE

NCIE chefs meet ahead regularly to discuss menu options and to also ensure meals meet the Elder’s dietary requirements.

Australian Unity’s Branch Manager, Kelly Bashford said the Elders love the food prepared from NCIE and look forward to their meals delivered every morning.

Ms Bashford thanked NCIE Hospitality Manager Peter McLaughlin and his entire team, saying they have all been so supportive and accommodating. 

“I can’t thank them enough. Plus, it has been wonderful to support another Indigenous organisation, she added.

Ms Bashford said food is a big part of First Nations’ culture and thpartnership with NCIE has helped create conversations with non-Indigenous people about our traditions.

Ms Bashford and Ms Rebaque agree the partnership has been a win-win for both organisations

Since the meal program began, Australian Unity have employed four full-time staff just to deliver the NCIE meals.

“Our organisation is very social, and we used to take our people out a lot (before COVID), so this has become a way for our care workers to connect with our clients,” Ms Bashford said. 

“Working together keeps everyone happy and continues to provide revenue during this pandemic,” Ms Rebaque added.

“This in turn allows us to provide training and employment opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, which is at the core of what we do at NCIE.

“It has also enabled us to deliver new products that otherwise we would not have, and so we have learnt to grow and adapt quickly to market movements. From the aspect of values, Elders represent aimportant part of the community we are proud to support.”