Ripples’ community award

The Whyalla Ripples Support Group has continued to receive recognition for their dedication to supporting those struggling with addiction in regional communities.

The drug addiction support team were named the winners of the Flinders University Rural Health SA Regional Achievement Award at the South Australian Community Achievement Awards dinner on Friday.

Founder Karen Harrison moved some members of the audience to tears with her speech about the dangers of addiction and the ups and downs of recovery.

Ms Harrison says the award is a result of a lot of hard work by both the Ripples Executive Committee and those attending their meetings.

“When we won the award it was just so exciting, it was the best night,” she said.

“There were so many different community organisations there so it was really good to hear what they were doing as well. South Australia is so lucky to have all these people that volunteer.”

Formed in 2015, the Whyalla Ripples Support Group has endeavored to provide support and education for parents and families in the Whyalla community and surrounds dealing with a loved one’s ice addiction.

The group has presented five community forums to over 1000 attendees. The forums feature speakers who are parents, recovering addicts and mental health workers.

Over the years they have grown their membership base and extended into Port Augusta while creating The Outhouse, a group aimed at supporting men dealing with addiction.

Six months before Ripples was formed, The Beginnings Group was created by Bonita Scott to support people recovering from addiction. It now falls under the Ripples banner.

“Recognition of mental health issues is growing not just around South Australia but around Australia. There’s a need for support everywhere because there is a gap in those services,” Ms Harrison said.

“I’m involved with 26 other groups in Australia that are doing what we are doing. Addiction touches everyone in the family...it’s a ripple effect.”

With over 280 nominations, the Whyalla Ripples Support Group won the award from a strong field of community contributors.

“We were up against three other groups who were just amazing. I thought we had a small chance to win but it was great just to be there,” Ms Harrison said.

Ripples received $2000 Award prize from the SACA Foundation Partner, Commonwealth Bank, and a trophy.

They thanked Commonwealth Bank, Awards Australia, Southern Cross Austereo, and Prime 7 for their support.