A RETIRED nurse, academic and health practitioner will head the Tomaree Peninsula’s first Community Drug Action Team (CDAT).
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Elizabeth Schiemer, who operates the Salamander Bay Natural Health Services and is a member of the Port Stephens Suicide Prevention Network (PSSPN) and secretary of Port Stephens Complementary Health Services Association Inc, knows the alcohol and drug problems facing the community, and is committed to making a difference.
Since 1999, CDATs have led thousands of activities to engage at-risk youth, educate parents and the wider community through community activities and campaigns to curb alcohol-fuelled violence and drug use. The teams are supported through the Community Engagement and Action Program funded by NSW Health.
Last month Ms Schiemer, a registered nurse for 50 years and clinical hypnotherapist, was elected chair of the Port Stephens CDAT focusing on the Tomaree peninsula.
“We had 14 people representing a wide cross-section of the community attend our first meeting where we were able to elect a committee,” Ms Schiemer said.
“There are a couple of grants available from the Australian Drug Foundation to establish programs to support people in the Bay with drug and alcohol problems.
“Previously the programs would run from Raymond Terrace or further afield, so it is our intention that if we are successful with these grants we can ensure residents in the Bay will have direct benefits.”
Ms Schiemer said she would be seeking support from other community groups such as Port Stephens Council, Tomaree Youth Community Action (TYCA), Caring for Our Port Stephens Youth (COPSY) and PSSPN and Port Stephens Complementary Health Services Association Inc. when applying for up to $90,000 in grants.
“We have all the data and statistics to show where the problems lie, we now need the grant to direct the funds into support programs and areas of need,” she said.
“With the right people involved we can submit a grant application that focuses on primary prevention work in the community.”
Applications for the grants open on 13 October and anyone wishing to get involved can contact Ms Schiemer at her Salamander Bay practice on 4982 1236.
By Charlie ELIAS