Over the past few years, Wungening has secured significant growth through the development of innovative, Aboriginal-led service delivery in justice, homelessness, family support and other areas. But in Wungening’s heart and in its history, alcohol and other drug (AOD) service delivery has always been a core reason for being. The organisation came about because of lobbying by the community when mainstream services were not responding effectively to the needs of Aboriginal people in the area of alcohol and substance challenges.

After 33 years of operation, the organisation has renewed attention back to that original promise of service delivery. Between October 2021 and November 2022, Wungening commenced planning for a new vision of AOD service delivery. We conducted a range of activities including focus groups, interviews with clients, partners and codesign sessions with across organisation participants. We listened to what clients, staff, our board, community and Elders told us. We looked at what our current AOD data tells us, what research literature tells us, and the shifts in local AOD trends. We are now developing a place-based AOD service model to meet the challenge of renewed relevance to all the above stakeholders, and the changes in the AOD landscape (for example, changes in our client profile from mainly alcohol/cannabis as the preferred drug of choice, to methamphetamine).

This research project is a values-based, developmental evaluation of the developing Ngalla Wirrin Wungening (our spirit healing) alcohol and other drug (AOD) program. The research will support the testing of new ways of working at Wungening and contribute to the evidence base for culturally embedded approaches to AOD treatment in the current landscape.

‘The reason why we’re in this evaluation co-research group, to me, is about diversity. So that we are able to share diverse knowledge coming from our different mobs. Because we’re diverse, and because we work in this field, we all have the same goal – so that we can have a look at how we can improve Ngalla Wirrin Wungening ways of working for the mob out there.’
– Co-research group member, on how they think the Lowitja-funded project is going to impact the Aboriginal community.

‘This project is important to me because this here is a big area that I align to and wanted to join in on – this team, this group, this evaluation – because, there are issues for our mob and there’s not much yarning around about things and I think myself and my experience and being able to share, in our mob’s words, I can pass on their voices. And I can help make sure that’s being put into evaluations and research out there.’
– Co-research group member on why they wanted to take part in the evaluation

Wungening_1st meeting photo

Acknowledgement of Country

We acknowledge the traditional owners of the land across Australia and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be aware that this website may contain images, voices and names of deceased persons.