About Us

Since 2015 we have been providing pro bono pre and post release support to Indigenous Prisoners in a number of privately run and State run correctional facilities.

Robert Henderson continues to spend time with the men inside the prisons to this day. In 2016 founders of The Henderson Gallery (Now Birrunga Gallery & Dining) Suzanne Goodchild, Wayne Weaver and Robert Henderson recognised the negative impact of compounding unresolved grief on Indigenous prisoners, their families and communities when they were unable to attend to their Cultural responsibilities around Sorry Business. The negative impacts manifested as escalations in depression, hopelessness, violence, self-harm, violence and loss of hope. The decision was made to form a charity primarily to assist in providing funds for transportation to and from funerals but with a broad enough charter to include the creation of Transition and Reintegration Centres among other community focused activities.

Mission

The aim and purpose of the Wayne Weaver Foundation are to support bereaved First Nations (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander) prisoners, their families and communities.

The Foundation supports the cost of funerals, transport, coffins, and gravestones. It also provides post-release community support for prisoners and their families.

Our focus is aimed at assisting First Nations families that are critically affected by these circumstances. Transportation of the passed person/family, funeral costs, catering for community and respectful services are important at a time when dignity for all involved can be a pressing matter.

Artwork By Wayne Weaver
Artwork By Wayne Weaver

Why we are necessary

It has been recognised in the Close The Gap Report, that First Nations Peoples have shorter life spans than the rest of the population.

Contributory to this are some of the other indicators of the ‘gap’. Matters such as education, housing, low socio-economic circumstances, unemployment, health and incarceration.

The positive attitudinal impact that attendance to cultural protocols has on mindset and behaviour has far reaching benefits for individuals, families and the wider community. There is a reduction in domestic and other violence, and a reduction in substance abuse as well as the recidivism rate for First Nations prisoners returning to the community.

What we’re up to

While the foundation utilises some traditional methods for raising funds, one of the significant avenues that the we explore is the production of jams with Indigenous ingredients for sale in Birrunga Gallery as well as supplying product for NAIDOC month to members of the ACCOR Group and more recently as a QLD Government sanctioned supplier to a number of venues. The proceeds go to the foundation but the demand by far outweighs our ability to supply the needs of our target demographic. 2019 sees us partnering with QPAC as a sponsored community event of the Clancestry Festival with a corporate dinner and auction of donated artworks event being hosted by Birrunga Gallery & DIning. International Art Services and Matisse Framing have also become trusted sponsors. This will allow us to spread the word to a new demographic, offering opportunity to build trust, rapport and reputation as well as secure some much needed resources. Pressing forward we are cultivating relationships that will allow us to run educational programmes within correctional facilities that will engage, assist and provide prisoners the opportunity to process their trauma through a creative, educational outlet, which is a crucial part of the rehabilitative process. In addition, the ability to raise the profile of the positive foci of prisoners and of the teams that run the prisons assists in building esteem for the prisoners, their families and the wider community, building a sense of identity and respect that are not only essential but assists in delivering positive role model activity to be emulated.Unresolved grief is a killer. The Wayne Weaver Foundation is focussed on protecting and conserving the social and cultural bonds and traditions of First Nations peoples, their families and communities by providing the support, resources and follow up necessary to attend funerals held in the community, outside correctional facilities.

Artwork By Wayne Weaver