Cultural Connections

‘Waaru-biin waalaway-gam, bangarr-daandurr, nyanggan-muguu: yanggidam girraalgay-gurra-w, ngalan-ngirraw minyaagu: guunuwaygam nyangganabaygu’.

People with disadvantage, mental illness or disability have the opportunity and support to take control of their lives.

CHESS is dedicated to guiding and mentoring local members of the community towards a fulfilling life of social inclusion, self reliance and wellness. This is reflected by our motto of ‘Strong Life’ –  a philosophy we bring to our reconciliation efforts. Indeed, the term ‘Strong Life’ was first coined by a First Nation Australian Clarke Webb who, after helping translate our company values summed up the CHESS philosophy as ‘Strong Life’. This is a phrase that has resonated with us ever since. Our second CHESS Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) serves to guide the organisations direction in working closely with the First Nation community and building awareness of cultural issues within our staff.

CHESS is proudly local and being a part of the Mid North Coast community means embracing the rich cultural diversity of the area. From the Gumbaynggirr people in the Coffs Harbour region, the Dunghutti people in Kempsey and the Bundjalung  and Yaegl people in the Clarence area, CHESS is committed to building strong relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

Our Initiatives & Programs

In addition to providing our employment and community health services to all members of our local community, CHESS is also actively seeking ways to support our indigenous community by developing a number of targeted initiatives.

  • CHESS partners with the Galambilla Heath Care Facility to deliver our Partners in Recovery services  to assisting people with mental illness in their recovery journey. We also deliver employment services from Galambila premises.
  • CHESS, NSW Police and Clarence Valley Aboriginal Men’s Group worked together to develop with the Aboriginal Youth Bike Program. Every Thursday a group of high school boys spend the day at the South Grafton Ngerrie Lands Council Men’s Shed, pulling apart and building old bikes.
  • Our services are built upon the principles of social inclusion, empowerment and increased personal reliance. PHaMs and DES employ First Nation Australians who work closely with local community to mentor and support people on their journey to social and economic inclusion.  PIR and PHaMs have peer workers with lived experience of mental illness who walk alongside people on their journey to recovery and advise staff on best practice service delivery.
  • We are partnering with Ngaru Village in Yamba to deliver better employment outcomes to that community.
  • We participate in the Coffs Harbour Aboriginal Interagency network meetings.
  • All sites participate in NAIDOC Week celebrations annually.
  • Staff participate in cultural awareness training and attend Aboriginal Mental Health First Aid training.

By partnering with local agencies and developing these initiatives, CHESS aims to encourage awareness and sensitivity towards reconciliation, take action and provide targeted assistance within Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander communities

CHESS Reconciliation Action Plan


Our Articles

In the News

CHESS was invited to partner with the Nambucca Heads Local Aboriginal Land Council in their innovative new venture - setting up a café to assist Aboriginal people with a disability or those with long-term unemployment history gain the skills they need to find meaningful employment. Traditionally Grounded was opened in February 2016 with the patronage of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet. CHESS employees provide on the job support to trainees working within the café and we’re already receiving wonderful feedback from the community and graduates of this new initiative.

If you can change one person's life that's wonderful, but imagine changing 12 people's lives.
— Louise Robinson, Nambucca Heads Aboriginal Land Council CEO

If you would like to know more about the CHESS Reconciliation Action Plan and our targeted initiatives towards the support and recognition of Australia’s First Nation Peoples please contact us

  • Please enter your suburb so we can direct your enquiry to your local agency
  • Please choose from the drop down menu