Drug and alcohol support service to close doors

Wandarma Drug and Alcohol Service will close its counselling and support services by the end of the year.

The service is run by Orange-based not-for-profit organisation Lyndon, which offers residential and community-based alcohol and drug programs and services in regional NSW.

Lyndon’s director Ed Zarnow said the Bega office would continue to provide support for clients until the end of the year, “working closely with clients on referral pathways to other services for continuation of support”.

He said staff had been notified “well in advance” of the shock closure, and were being closely consulted about the changes, other options of employment and redundancy entitlements.

It is not known how many jobs will be lost by the closure.

Wandarma Drug and Alcohol Service's Raechel Wallace with her national award for excellence in 2016. Photo: Alasdair McDonald

Wandarma Drug and Alcohol Service's Raechel Wallace with her national award for excellence in 2016. Photo: Alasdair McDonald

Mr Zarnow said Lyndon will continue to run its succesful Men’s Group program from Bega, an initiative which caught the eye of associate professor Ted Wilkes last year.

The groups aim to help reduce problematic substance use through providing positive networks, social and cultural connections and community support, Mr Zarnow said.

The program is funded by the South Eastern NSW Primary Health Network.

In 2016 Wandarma manager Raechel Wallace won a national excellence award at the Fourth National Indigenous Drug and Alcohol Conference in Adelaide.

Lyndon has run the service since October 2011, working closely with Indigenous communities in reducing the harmful effects of drugs and alcohol.

In September this year Lyndon merged with Queensland-based drug, alcohol and mental health support service not-for-profit Lives Lived Well.

Mr Zarnow said other services in the region which can provide alcohol and drug support include the South East Regional Hospital, Grand Pacific Health and Katungal Medical Services.