Last Wednesday Vaughan Williams hit an impressive milestone of 13 years of service to Larrakia Nation Aboriginal Corporation with the HEAL program.
In a fitting celebration, the usual Wednesday morning HEAL breakfast for people living rough was jazzed up a to include Vaughan’s friends, family, clients, and colleagues with great music, food, cake and presents!
“I stumbled into the job in a funny way because they needed someone to help with Green Corps, and I got talked into doing the odd job for HEAL. It’s been the best part of my life working with the Nation” said Vaughan in a speech to the group.
Healthy Engagement and Assistance in the Long Grass (HEAL)
This vital service began around the time Vaughan started working with Larrakia Nation. The program connects people who are homeless or long grassing in Darwin with essential services. It’s very important in keeping some of our most vulnerable connected with services like Territory Families, NT Police, courts, hospitals and health clinics and Centrelink, and stops them from falling through the gaps in social services.
“The purpose of HEAL has remained the same” explained Vaughan, “we do whatever needs doing. If people need to go the hospital we go there, or if they need to go shopping, we can help direct them where they should go to get good value for money”.
Doesn’t feel like hard work
It seems Vaughan has the perfect temperament for the job and doesn’t agree that working with people living rough is hard work. “After 13 years I have never really found this job hard. I get on with Blackfellas and I’m well connected with the local communities, and people all over the Territory or even Australia. You would be amazed at how well connected people are, they know people in communities all over Australia”.
Those who know Vaughan will also know his van. Its old, has no aircon and has seen better days, but apparently it fits lots of people and doesn’t break down, and as far as Vaughan is concerned, it’s the perfect bus for him and the program. “It’s a very down to earth program and that’s why I like using my van, because it suits the program. My bus fits more people in than the new ones anyway”.
Change is happening fast
Vaughan has seen lots come and go over the years, but he thinks the change that has happened recently under CEO Robert Cooper is the fastest. “Robert has really created a massive change, and the pace of change has been nothing like since he turned up. I think we’ve almost doubled the staff since he started. Robert is a very special guy”.
When asked if he wanted to stay at HEAL he said he had no plans to go anywhere, but if he ever did, he would work with youth living in Darwin. “If I left I would work in youth because the youth in Darwin need help big time”.