In the past five years, Rochelle Masters has seen her small psychology clinic in Perth’s northern suburbs grow through her unique approach to community engagement.
A spike in revenue of more than 450 per cent over a four-year period would be welcome news for any organisation.
It has an added resonance for non-profit operation Wungening Aboriginal Corporation, winner of the Rising Stars indigenous award, where its 2015-2019 achievement representing a new level of commitment to creating a healthy, safe, strong and sustainable Aboriginal community.
Starting in 1989 and long operating as an alcohol and other drug (AOD) service in isolation, Wungening now provides family support services, youth and adult justice programs, and management of four prison family visitor centres and a refuge for women and children.
This new focus is reflected in Wungening’s name change from the Aboriginal Alcohol and Drug Service to the Noongar word for ‘healing’.
It was also accompanied by a jump in staffing levels from 58 to 189.
The diversification drive recognised that AOD issues do not appear in isolation but are linked to a range of other significant social issues.
A key milestone in the expansion phase was Wungening’s acquisition of land and funding for capital works and associated programs for a new purpose-built refuge.
The new facility has doubled the number of families Wungening can accommodate and is said to be the largest and highest-funded refuge in Western Australia.
Wungening attributes the project’s success to a multi-partner approach to funding.
It also benefited from an innovative and integrated service model that has since been championed by state and federal stakeholders.
The organisation also expanded its funding base by positioning it as the leader of two consortia, each consisting of four agencies with diverse experience of delivering community services to vulnerable and disadvantaged populations.
Having smoothed out some kinks arising from its rapid expansion and diversification, Wungening is now aiming to build its brand and also establish the first Aboriginal residential rehabilitation centre in the South West of WA.