Weigelli / Orana Haven Hub's Forbes team here to see lives transformed

Nita Mala at the Weigelli / Orana Haven Hub at 42 Templar Street, Forbes.
Nita Mala at the Weigelli / Orana Haven Hub at 42 Templar Street, Forbes.

People don't belong in the "too hard" basket.

The Weigelli / Orana Haven Hub project is relatively new to Forbes, but the team is growing and their mandate is to provide support and prevention measures to Aboriginal people experiencing drug and alcohol dependence.

The Hub is now open at 42 Templar Street and it is clear from the first meeting that Nita Mala, senior alcohol and other drugs case manager, is passionate about what she does.

Nita will stop at nothing short of seeing lives transformed: with some 20 years' experience in related fields, she knows the wide-reaching impacts drug and alcohol dependence have.

"A lot of the time they're not going to look after their health; they may have legal issues, they may be homeless," Nita said.

Hub caseworkers are there to support each person in identifying what areas they need to work on, and then each step of the way.

It's about support, guidance and most importantly empowerment: each individual needs to know they can take control.

"A lot of people with drug and alcohol dependence isolate, and they don't have a lot of support," Nita said.

For Nita, it's about ensuring people know the service and support is there whenever they are ready.

In one recent case; it took five months from referral to the day the person made the choice to come to the door of the Templar Street Hub and say, "I need help".

"I'm always ready," Nita said.

The team is there to help with the practicalities of making lasting change, understanding that for some people that means a new home, new friends, and a new phone number.

Nita and her colleagues keep in regular contact with their clients; they will attend appointments, offer transport, help with applications, whatever it takes.

"I get to see lives transformed and I am not keeping quiet until I do," Nita said.

They can also connect people to residential rehabilitation, working with Orana Haven Detox and Rehabilitation in Brewarrina, and The Weigelli Rehabilitation Centre near Cowra.

The Western NSW Primary Health Network and the National Indigenous Australians Agency are funding the hub project and it's allowed unique community-based responses to drug, alcohol and related issues to be developed in each location.

Hub project manager Tracy Gordon has been with Orana Haven rehabilitation and newly established detox unit at Brewarrina for seven years, and she has every confidence in the outreach teams that are now working out of communities including Forbes.

"We work with a lot of people who will not attend services," Tracy said.

"We have been given the opportunity to take the time to care, provide support and give encouragement."

It has barely been 12 months since Nita started working from the Forbes Hub, and she already has seen lives transformed.

The Hub team works closely with health and mental health services, other service providers, legal, and rehabilitation services.

The Hub is based in Forbes, with regular outreach in Parkes, Peak Hill, Grenfell, Eugowra, Condobolin and surrounding communities.

The team at Orana Haven can:

  • Provide culturally-appropriate assessment and referral for Aboriginal clients;
  • Prepare and implement case plans - including clinical activities and welfare matters;
  • Provide treatment and support to clients suffering with alcohol and other drug related issues.
  • Conduct regular individual sessions;
  • Facilitate educational and therapeutic group activities, specifically in the areas of domestic violence and anger management;
  • Provide psychosocial support, assistance with appointments (legal, health, Housing, Centrelink, Docs, etc);
  • Offer Work Development Order (WDO) to assist with paying fines during engagement with the supporting staff.

Contact senior case worker Nita on 0410 474 671; Brendon 0455 628 728 or Carmen on 0448 582 256.

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