The courses that The Cuppacumbalong Foundation sponsor have been designed with a deliberate set of outcomes that require all participants to engage deeply with the process of making. The therapeutic value and personal development achieved by participants through this making process, is the result of successfully developing new skills necessary to complete a challenging activity, guided by experienced mentors.

These creative courses have been developed by respected educators and craftsmen and women over twenty years. They enable participants to slow down, focus and reconnect by making things.

Our experience suggests that when people have an opportunity to participate in creative courses, they feel better. They are more confident, they are calmer and they develop an improved sense of general wellbeing.  By providing fully funded places in courses, The Cupacumbalong Foundation enhances peoples' lives by healing through making.

The Toll Ambulance Rescue Helicopter Wellbeing Team would like to express our heartfelt thanks for the opportunity provided to so many of our staff to attend courses at Tharwa. Between those of us who have already attended we agree that this sort of opportunity is very valuable for first responders. To spend time with other responders learning a completely new skill that includes the opportunity for artistic expression, we believe it has great benefit for wellbeing. 

We found the course provided moments of mindfulness, opportunities to get to know each other outside of a work context, a chance to get away in a great environment, and once we were finished, a great pair of beautiful knives we can be proud of.

Our instructor was excellent, guided us appropriately and was there to help us rectify our mistakes. There is a palpable feeling of excitement around our base around these courses. That in itself is wonderful. 

We have seen the personal impact that our high stress, high consequence work has on our staff. Hopefully these courses can in some way lessen this. Please pass on our thanks to the teaching staff and The Cuppacumbalong Foundation.

- Cam O'Leary, Critical Care Paramedic & Peer Support Officer
Toll Ambulance Rescue Helicopter, Bankstown

It was a great opportunity to reflect on the challenges experienced during the past bushfire season while being able to have an informal debrief with other colleagues within the service about how they had coped, how their families dealt with their absence and reflect on the trauma of the season and how it impacted each of us individually. While not always a comfortable topic for me to discuss, I felt it was a safe environment, while also feeling a sense of achievement as we progressed through each stage of making our knives....I thank them for everything that they do and thank those who have provided the funding! It was a great experience and I would recommend it to anyone working within Emergency Response/Management..

- ACT Paramedic

The courses have been particularly valuable to our members suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and other trauma-related illnesses. These members have described their time spent at Tharwa as a "healing and cathartic experience" in a safe environment, where they engaged in supportive courses that provided participants with the opportunity to work alongside people with shared experiences, create something lasting and functional, and learn new skills. 

- Australian Federal Police

Hear more about  how we make a positive difference and listen to this Canberra ABC radio story on the program: