Community engagement in a big city
Sydney Local Health District has hospital, clinic and community outreach services. Four Aboriginal staff members work in the Drug Health Services. We will describe our work, some of our initiatives and progress.
As Project Officer, Peter’s role is to work out better ways of engaging community. In response to a local tragedy funding was obtained for a group of services to engage community, especially street drinkers and ice users. An integrated service delivery hub, ‘Redlink’, was developed. We started a men’s cooking group with 5-6 men, and over eight months this grew to 25-30 men. If men look a bit ‘rough around the gills’ Peter can help with drug and alcohol, housing or other issues. Four people have started treatment via the cooking group, and many are considering change. Due to the cooking group’s success, TAFE have offered courses and financial counseling on-site. Redlink is now creating a ‘men’s cave’.
Marilyn is a MERIT (Magistrate’s Early Referral into Treatment) Clinician and qualified counsellor. She attends court and provides support, counselling and referrals for Aboriginal or Islander people involved in the legal process. Marilyn also runs the Aboriginal women’s group at RPA DHS. This group has between 5 to 10 women attending, sometimes with their children. The women meet and talk over art, cooking or other activities. They discuss problems that have cropped up, how they can support each other and coping strategies.