Leaving behind homes and families to access dialysis treatment in Alice Springs, Indigenous Australians experienced great hardship. They lost a connection to the land, unable to lead their communities or pass on cultural knowledge.

“They want fire for the smell of wood smoke going through the air. They want to smell the flowers after the rain,” said a Purple House committee member.

“Our members are from the most remote part of Australia, the desert, and they had this one thing that they wanted to sort. A community problem was causing them great heartache, which was people having to leave their community and not having their family around to look after them,” said Purple House CEO, Sarah Brown.

2018 Telstra NT Business of the Year, Purple House, aims to solve this issue by providing dialysis services to remote communities in the NT and WA. The organisation is run by an all Indigenous board, providing dialysis in fourteen remote clinics in addition to a ‘Purple Truck’ mobile dialysis service.

“If our services aren’t there then people have to move off their country to a place that’s owned by other people and life becomes all about waiting for your next dialysis day. That means that people are really likely to get sicker. What we found is that by providing services that are run by the community on community, that people are living longer, contributing to their local economies, teaching family their cultural knowledge, and really significantly contributing to the community,” said Ms Brown.

Last year, the business successfully helped 157 people return home, providing a whole new model of care for dialysis patients in remote Australian communities.

“We’ve had to work really hard to attract philanthropic funding and work really hard to attract non-Aboriginal people to come and understand the issues that face remote communities,” said Ms Brown.

“It was difficult to grow because there’s only so many auction’s you can have and raffle tickets you can sell. This year, after many years of advocating and lobbying, we’ve got a medicare item number for a dialysis out bush, which is real recognition from the health system that what we’re doing is working and so now it becomes a sustainable model into the future.”

The Judges were inspired by the way in which Purple House has made a significant impact on the health care system and on the lives of the population living in regional communities, also awarding Purple House with the Social Change Maker Award.

“This is incredible recognition for a whole heap of hard work from people, over many years, who were really determined to make this work for their families and their communities,” said Ms Brown.

Last night, other top performing businesses were recognised as category winners of the 2018 Telstra Northern Territory Business Awards:

2018 Telstra Northern Territory Emerging & Energised Award winner: HK Holistic Health Klub: More than just a gym, HK Holistic Health Klub offers lifestyle coaching focused on developing healthy habits through exercise, nutrition and expert advice.

2018 Telstra Northern Territory Small & Succeeding Award winner: True North Strategic Communication: Drawing on a long history of working in the Territory, True North Strategic Communication provides communication and community engagement, media relations, marketing and professional writing advice.

2018 Telstra Northern Territory Medium & Making Waves Award winner: Dreamedia Events: Working in almost every venue in Darwin and Uluru, the business creates and produces many of NT’s largest events such as national touring acts, festivals and sports events.

The Telstra Business Awards are an exclusive platform to help businesses thrive in the future, by providing recognition, trusted advice and by opening their doors to an exclusive network.

The program recognises the best in business across four categories: Emerging and Energised, Small and Succeeding, Medium and Making Waves, and Social Change Maker.

All 2018 Northern Territory winners will join other state and territory category winners at the national 2018 Telstra Australian Business Awards in Melbourne on Thursday, 20 September 2018.

Visit the Telstra Business Awards website for further information about the winners.