In addition to being the Chair of the Nimbin CDAT, Natalie also works at the Nimbin Neighbourhood and Information Centre (NNIC).
NNIC is a locally-based community support and community development organisation. They provide a range of services such as public access to computers, community welfare workers, and a nurse practitioner – they’re even involved in sustainability projects such as the Nimbin Community Solar Farm.
Natalie got involved with the CDAT when three years ago, our SCDO Denni Scott-Davis asked Natalie if she would be interested in getting the Nimbin CDAT back up and running. Natalie said the workload would only be manageable and the commitment worth it if 10 other community members would put their hands up to join her.
Well, they did – and Natalie is a woman of her word – so the Nimbin CDAT was reborn.
Their first order of business was to conduct a community survey amongst the people who use drugs in their area. By recruiting a few representatives from various user groups and asking them to take the surveys to their peers, they managed to get 153 responses.
The survey responses gave them a window into current alcohol and other drug use in their local area, helping them to focus their efforts on the most relevant and current issue in their community. For example, the survey helped them to identify that many drug users were poly-drug users – with some people using up to 12 different types of drugs – so they have prioritised health messages about the dangers of poly-drug use.
Natalie has enjoyed collaborating with the Nimbin CDAT crew to create “The Adventures of Reckless Rita, Freddy Foolhardy & Captain Competent”, which are shared on the NNIC website, in The Nimbin Good Times, and through their social media channels. 5 cartoons have been produced to date, each focusing on an identified priority area such as poly-drug use or FASD.
This cartoon highlights the importance of shifting thinking about FASD away from it being a ‘woman’s problem’, and recognising that partners, friends, and family all play a role in supporting pregnant women in not drinking.
Nimbin CDAT is also interested in promoting how community members can take direct action to look after intoxicated mates. Specifically, things like not buying a drunk friend more drinks once they’ve been cut off and taking the keys away from someone too drunk to drive.
Initially, the local liquor accord was very reluctant to be involved in the initiative, but Nimbin CDAT found that involving the local police force made a big difference in getting cooperation.
This CDAT has clearly had a busy few years, and we look forward to seeing more of their work – and Freddy’s adventures – in the future.