Our Partners in Recover (PIR) services addresses a number of challenging issues that effect our local population including, complex mental health conditions, drug and alcohol abuse and homelessness.

The CHESS staff who provide the invaluable PIR service have an inspiring story to share. By sharing our successes we also hope to highlight the importance of these types of services in supporting vulnerable members of our community.


Our story begins at our Nambucca Heads agency in August 2015 with the engagement of a young, indigenous woman ‘Lucy’ who was experiencing difficulties with past trauma and substance abuse issues.
These existing issues combined with a lack of motivation due to depression and poor self-esteem were preventing Lucy from moving forward in her life, leaving her isolated, anxious and in a poor position financially.

Real Solutions for Real People

Through the PIR program CHESS was able to help guide Lucy on her journey to recovery by tailoring practical, individualized support that was relevant to Lucy’s specific needs.


  • CHESS funded a sewing machine so Lucy could participate in a weekly Aboriginal Program Women’s Sewing Group.
  • We connected Lucy with a sexual trauma counsellor to work through past trauma.
  • Substance abuse issues were addressed increasing Lucy’s motivation and self-esteem and freeing up her finances
  • CHESS funded a bed as Lucy was sleeping on the floor, exacerbating a back condition and causing fatigue during the day due to broken sleep.
  • CHESS helped Lucy develop personal boundaries within her network which greatly improved her family relationships.
  • Suitable clothing was also provided for Lucy as she was concerned about her appearance and not fitting in – a reason for avoiding appointments and other social situations.

Pathway to Recovery

With the right supports in place Lucy was able to attend classes and appointments, develop her skills and strengthen relationships within her community.


  • Lucy has developed her passion and skills in sewing. She has told us that this gives her purpose and she loves making gifts for her family.
  • Lucy is now managing all her own appointments and catches public transport independently.
  • CHESS have recently negotiated a Business Traineeship with an employer in her local community. This is part of an indigenous focused program where duties will include delivering Welcome to Country so Lucy can learn the skills to manage her Sewing Group workshops.
  • Lucy’s next goal is to move into her own unit.


It was been so rewarding to watch Lucy thrive. Her social inclusion has increased and her long term ambition is to be a role model and mentor for other young indigenous girls in her community, encouraging inclusion, positive attitudes and the value of indigenous culture.

What we hope to teach is that with the right support an individual can thrive. We feel so privileged to have been a small part of Lucy’s story to help her reach her goals and strengthen her own efforts towards recovery.

Because of the sensitive nature of the work we do within the community, we publish our Good News Stories anonymously and use aliases when referring to clients and participants.