Making a connection key in battle against addiction

Lily House director Sharon Fergus is motivated to help women through very difficult times in their lives.
Lily House director Sharon Fergus is motivated to help women through very difficult times in their lives. Patrick Woods

SEEING vulnerable women regain strength and learn new skills motivates Sharon Fergus to volunteer at a Sunshine Coast refuge.

She has been a director at Lily House in Nambour for the past four-and-a-half years, working with a team of fellow volunteers.

The charity offers temporary accommodation to women, mostly domestic violence victims, but also those rehabilitating from substance abuse and other issues.

Up to six women stay in the home at any time but only after they have been assessed as compatible with the women already in the home.

RELATED: Drug addiction help in high demand

They also have to obey the rules of no alcohol or drugs, no violence and no men.

Residents learn about budgeting, nutrition and exercise and take part in art therapy and parenting programs.

Mrs Fergus said demand for the service was great but as a non-government-organisation, funding was difficult to come by.

"The women pay rent but it doesn't cover running costs," Mrs Fergus said.

WATCH: 'I was thinking "how can people be happy clean?"'

Businesses and local government grants help out but they have only received three grants in the past eight years.

Every bit of furniture in the home is donated.

Without its dedicated volunteers, it would not exist.

Mrs Fergus said their devotion was reflected in the positive outcomes for clients, such as those dealing with drug issues.

"I think the thing when it comes to addiction - what women really need is connection," she said.

"We care, we really care."

RELATED: Addict mum chose drugs over newborn

She said volunteers needed to be flexible and non-judgemental.

"You have to have a heart for doing something like this."

She said some ex-residents kept in touch and support continued for women after they moved out.

Volunteers go to weddings, children's birthdays, court appearances and other events.

"I love my job.

"We have some really good outcomes."

For more information, to volunteer or to donate visit or call 0421 451 514.

Topics:  addiction drugs nambour refuge sunshine coast women

Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Coast's history paints a colourful picture

Cooroy artist Dale Leach was commissioned to paint a landscape of the Sunshine Coast for the Mayor's office.

Cooroy artist commissioned to create artwork for mayor's office

Success continues for Noosa alive!

Blake Bowden performs in the world premiere of Straight from the Hart at Noosa alive! this year.

Noosa's cultural festival in its 17th year

Local Partners