Practical help puts lives back on track

Spotlight on, November 2015

Nguumambiny Indigenous Corporation (ICN 7892)

From left to right: Margie McDonell, Nguumambiny Indigenous Corporation manager Lynn Field, Chanelle O’Brien, Shoana Howison and Kylie Stockwell at a Rough Diamonds program meeting. Photo: Belinda Soole/Daily Liberal

Dubbo, New South Wales: It might be a small and relatively new organisation, but Nguumambiny Indigenous Corporation doesn’t shrink from life’s big challenges. It takes its objective ‘to provide direction to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community’ very much to heart and is working hard to alleviate difficult social problems. Yet Nguumambiny’s efforts are achieving results and the corporation is making a real difference to the quality of many people’s lives.

Nguumambiny was registered under the Corporations (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Act) 2006 in June 2013 with the prime purpose of lending support and providing life skills to those struggling on the margins.

‘You have to remember that most of our clients come from disadvantaged backgrounds and have missed out on stable homes, clear guidance and good role models,’ said Lynn Field, Nguumambiny’s manager and chief driving force.

A committed and tireless social reformer, Ms Field believes greater effort has to be put in to helping children who are growing up in terrible circumstances. ‘There is a higher correlation between addiction and childhood trauma than there is between diabetes and obesity.’

No one argues there’s much to do. The demand for the corporation’s life skill programs is more acute now than ever before because there are more young people in the region grappling with problems, such as drug and alcohol abuse, mental illness, anger management—or who simply just need a job.

‘These young people deserve our help,’ said Ms Field. ‘We can’t just push them away. They need understanding and, above all, practical tools for living.’

Learning to control anger is becoming a major social issue. Too many young men—and a growing number of women—compounded by drug addiction, do not have the skills to temper their emotions or moderate their social behaviour. More often than not they spiral into harmful and sometimes criminal activity, and cause hurt to those around them. Lives are damaged and it’s not uncommon for some to end up in jail.

Nguumambiny offers a range of courses which help clients address drug and alcohol problems, anger management and domestic violence issues. The number of participants has more than doubled in the past financial year.

One of the corporation’s successful programs, Smart Recovery, is for people in the community who require targeted assistance with drug and alcohol rehabilitation. This program also offers cultural guidance, ‘which is very important,’ said Ms Field, ‘particularly in areas where bastardisation exists within our culture.’

Nguumambiny’s Rough Diamonds program is an intensive 20 week course for women who are on their last chance. ‘I was looking at jail time while I was pregnant and with two children at home,’ said Chanelle O’Brien. ‘That was my rock bottom and I needed to turn around.’

Meeting Lynn Field and being introduced to the corporation’s work was life changing for Chanelle. With the help of Nguumambiny’s support group she is now on a different path. Rough Diamonds covers everything from self-esteem, surviving domestic violence, addictions, and relapse prevention, to parenting skills and financial management.

The success of Rough Diamonds has motivated a men’s program, Uncut Opals, which helps young men who for various reasons have got into trouble with the law.  Some of the guys are on probation or are parole referrals but all struggle with feelings of hopelessness. 

Through Nguumambiny’s negotiations and with the backing of the local community, the first steps towards gainful employment for these men have been taken. The Uncut Opals have the job of constructing an outdoor area for a Narromine business. ‘If you improve self-esteem it goes a long way in breaking the cycle people can get in,’ said Ms Field.

Manager Lynn Field was happy to present Chanelle O'Brien with flowers in honour of her one year of sobriety. Photo: Orlander Ruming/Daily Liberal

From left to right: Luke Fisher, Nguumambiny Indigenous Corporation manager Lynn Field and Nguumambiny support worker Ben Williams look over the details of the Uncut Opals program which is helping men overcome drug addiction. Photo: Mark Rayner/Daily Liberal

Some of the young men involved in the Uncut Opals program with Lynn Field (centre). Photo: Nguumambiny Indigenous Corporation


In November 2013 the Australian Tax Office granted Nguumambiny Deductible Gift Recipiency, and in May 2014 it was also given permission to conduct Work Development Orders by the Attorney Generals’ Department. Nguumambiny Indigenous Corporation’s services are used in in Dubbo, Narromine, Gilgandra, Warren, Coonamble, Nyngan and Parkes.

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