“To assist families throughout Australia to deal with alcohol and other drugs issues in a way that strengthens relationships and achieves positive outcomes”.
Up until 4 years ago she was responsible for all aspects of the telephone line operating and working with the volunteers. She now holds a part time position and works closely with James who has taken over a large part of her duties. Unfortunately, this has led to having less contact with the volunteers which was an integral part of her job and one which she enjoyed.
Sandra has worked closely with the Centre for Volunteering for over 20 years on supporting volunteers. She loves to read psychological thrillers and watch UK programmes on renovating houses. Sandra is a mother to Nicola and Jess and grandmother to Joshua.
Sandra Lines - Volunteer Manager
Renee joined the FDS team in August 2021 bringing with her 25 years of knowledge and experience working in law enforcement and the education space. Renee's passion is empowering people within the community to have the confidence to share their stories so we can all put a stop to the shame felt and stigma around substance use. Her focus is creating a safe place for individuals to openly share what is happening in their lives without judgment, so they can get the support they need.
Renee believes in the FDS model and considers it an honour to make a positive impact in the lives of the families, knowing they have the skills and knowledge to effectively cope with the situation. Renee is a certificated Acceptance Commitment Therapist who has completed a Bachelor of Adult Education at the University of Technology, Sydney. She has completed a Graduate Certificate in Psychology from Charles Sturt and is in her final year at ACAP studying Bachelor of Counselling with a coaching influence.
In her spare time Renee enjoys gardening, studying and spending time with her family and three cats and two dogs.
Prior to joining FDS, James had worked in a number of customer service, administration and learning and development roles, primarily in the Social Service sector. James is passionate about social justice and equality. James is currently completing a Cert IV Coordination of Volunteer programs.
Outside of work James enjoys most sports, collecting records, playing guitar and drums, Scrabble, gardening and DIY projects.
James Lomas - Volunteer Coordinator
Some of Louise’s qualifications include a Degree in Management, Advanced Diploma in Accounting and Diploma in Financial Counselling. Louise believes in the FDS model and feels it is vital in supporting families in their time of need.Louise enjoys simple pleasures like sharing a meal and having a laugh with family and friends.
Located in Toowoomba, QLD, Tess will be covering SE QLD regional areas for FDS, supporting families, facilitating groups, and delivering Stepping Forward information sessions, Support the Family - Improve the Outcome workshops and Stepping Stones groups.
Tess' background includes case management in the domestic violence space working in a refuge for women and children who had experienced all areas of DV. She has worked in a women’s drug and alcohol rehabilitation centre in the Darling Downs, QLD. For the two years prior to working with FDS, Tess has worked in the AOD space supporting families which is where her passion lies.
Tess' passion for the AOD space comes from a lived experience and she feels privileged to be able to walk beside families in this journey, working towards removing stigma in the community that families can at times experience.
Tess' qualifications include Diploma of Community Services/Welfare, and she is nearing completion of her Diploma in AOD. She is also studying a Diploma of Mental Health.Tess loves spending quality time with her family and her dachshund, Frankie. She enjoys going to concerts and listening to live bands with her husband. Tess is Mum to 5 amazing human beings, who are now all adults, and she is equally proud of them all. Tess also has 6 grandchildren who light up her life.
As NSW Family Support Worker for FDS, Tracey's role is to facilitate Sydney-based support groups as well as AOD related information sessions, and provide individual support to family and friends affected by a loved one's substance use.
Tracey feels very fortunate to be part of the FDS family and values the FDS model. Tracey commenced her FDS Volunteering journey in April 2022. She believes we are each the experts of our own lives and she feels very fortunate to support others as they come to realise their own strengths, skills and abilities for coping during difficult situations.
Tracey has always found the human mind fascinating and how the subjective nature of experience shapes the way people think, behave and interact with their environment.
Tracey is currently completing a Bachelor in Social Science - Counselling, and is passionate toward shame resilience, empowerment, social justice, upholding human rights, and breaking down the stigma surrounding substance use and mental health.
Prior to joining FDS she was employed as a Senior Advocate for RSL Queensland. For over 13 years she covered Central Queensland advocating for serving and ex-serving military personnel and their families, ensuring that they gained their entitlements and looking after their wellbeing. Caroline has a wealth of experience working with clients with physical disabilities and mental health concerns including clients and their families using alcohol and other drugs. Caroline has all relevant qualifications in training, mental health and casework management.
Caroline is an avid football (soccer) fan having played for over thirty years at various levels. She is a lifelong supporter and avid Manchester United fan. Since arriving in Australia she has also become a huge NRL fan and is a keen South Sydney Rabbitohs supporter.
Caroline Wright - Family Support Worker, Rockhampton QLD
Paula started at FDS in September 2022.
After an extensive career in interior design and makeup artistry, Paula decided she wanted to work in a more meaningful career that could help change lives and affect chance.
In pursuit of this dream, Paula began studying her bachelor's degree in counseling while working in the homelessness space, supporting and advocating for vulnerable members of society who experience homelessness as a result of a wide range of issues.
Paula moved on to work in the AOD Sector. Paula valued her time working as a clinician supporting both individuals and their families who have been impacted by drug and alcohol use.
Paula has returned to university and is completing her masters in psychotherapy.
In her spare time, Paula enjoys spending time with family and friends and being amongst nature. Paula is also known to cheat at monopoly.
Paula Sten - Family Support Worker, Cairns QLD
Chloe has a background in case management for people receiving unemployment benefits, is a Board Member of Students for Sensible Drug Policy Australia and is in her qualifying degree to become a social worker. She is also a member of the Australian Association of Social Workers (AASW) and the Australia Community Workers Association (ACWA).
Sally is the South Australia Clinical Services Manager and facilitates support groups and the Stepping Stones course as well as delivering the Stepping Forward information sessions and the Support The Family – Improve The Outcome professional workshop. She enjoys helping people find coping skills, express their emotions and find empowerment to make their own choices and decisions while still maintaining a safe connection and support for their loved one using substances.
Sally joined FDS in June 2019, after being a support line volunteer since January 2018 but has also worked in a harm minimisation treatment service providing case management and counselling to people experiencing substance use issues. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and English, worked in the private sector for many years in targeted marketing and client engagement before pursuing further study, gaining a Graduate Diploma in Psychological Science then continuing on to complete a degree in Counselling and Psychotherapy.In her spare time Sally enjoys creative writing, reading, yoga, music and spending time with close friends.
Originally coming from Scotland, Catherine came to Australia with her parents at age 13. She definitely calls Australia home, but loves to go back to visit her home country when she can.
Outside of work she enjoys the physical challenge of Boot Camp and Yoga. She loves catching up with friends and family & walking her dog Baxter.
Catherine Winter - Family Support Worker, South Australia
Jane is a qualified counsellor and social worker and has a holistic person-centred approach to supporting families, children and young people include identifying the structural systems that oppress marginalised communities.
Jane began her journey with Family Drug Support in 2020 when she found herself in need of support and understanding while she cared for her person who uses substances. Jane has an extensive experience of domestic and family violence, and child and adult trauma, and has been a light of hope to many people who have heard her speak publicly and witness her life journey and experience her counselling work. Jane's lived experiences influence her compassionate, unconditional positive regard for people.
Jane states "if we take the time to listen to people's stories, be curious about their experiences and life, convey authentic, unconditional regard to others and journey with them rather than doing it for them, we can break walls down and contribute to the world around them being their bright place to "be" and live".
Based in Narrabri, NSW, Cigdem will provide FDS support services and programs across the New England, North West NSW area. She looks forward to establishing and facilitating regular FDS family support meetings for that area. Cigdem will provide 1-1 support for families and will deliver FDS programs including Stepping Forward information sessions and Support the Family – Improve the Outcome professional development workshops, as well as facilitating our award winning Stepping Stones interactive and experiential course.
Cigdem’s first involvement with FDS began in 2006 as a volunteer on FDS National Telephone Support Line.
Cigdem truly believes in the FDS model for supporting families and welcomed the opportunity to expand FDS supports for families across the New England, North West NSW area.
Cigdem has over 15 years’ experience working across the Alcohol & Other Drugs, Youth, homelessness, and Mental Health sectors in rural and remote NSW. Cigdem has Diplomas in Counselling; Alcohol & Other Drugs and Community Services Case Management.In her spare time, Cigdem enjoys creating art and spending time with her family and her two dogs – she prefers to call them her ‘fur-babies!’.
Heidi first started at FDS in 2009 as a volunteer and has drawn enormous inspiration and fulfillment from listening to and supporting families on the FDS Support Line and as a group facilitator. She has also benefited greatly from guidance from FDS in her personal relationships with family members with drug and alcohol issues.
Heidi has worked for universities, local government and various charities and has extensive professional experience in volunteer management, mental health, disability, training and program coordination.
Heidi has a Bachelor of Communication from UTS and is studying a Masters of Social Work. She is passionate about social inclusion and has volunteered in palliative care, refugee home tutoring, homelessness, disability respite, breastfeeding support, maternity care advocacy, and for Dying2Know Day as well as at her sons’ school and soccer club. In 2020 she founded a social support group for people with mental illness after the program they were involved with lost funding. She currently volunteers for Wesley Mission’s Aunties & Uncles program and for NSW Scouts.
Heidi Hodder - Family Support Worker, New South Wales