Lorena Townsend lives by the motto, ‘one life, one chance’

A fiercely devoted community woman, she splits her hours in the day between her work with Home Nursing Group (HNG) and her time as a mum, a volunteer and a keen exercise enthusiast.

As HNG’s Care and Support Coordinator in Coffs Harbour, Lorena’s days are filled to the brim, kicking off sometime after dawn. At first light, she packs her gym bag and organises her daughter’s morning – Lorena’s last child living at home. She then drops her daughter at school and commutes the 20-kilometres to work; squeezing in a walk at lunch time before heading to the gym after work. “I go to the gym most days except Tuesdays, as I volunteer for the SES,” she says. “I get home from my workout, feed our three cats and our dog ‘Cobba’, shower and then dinner – which is prepared on a Sunday for the week.”

If this makes you feel disorganised, you’re not alone. However, Lorena has to be diligent in order to fit everything in. Born on the Northern Tablelands in Uralla, she’s a proud Anaiwan women and elder to her community. “I have a strong connection to my country and community and value my culture. I’m also an active member of the community in which I live,” she says. Before starting work for HNG, she was at the forefront of providing assistance to her community. “I worked in a GP clinic as an Aboriginal support worker; assessing, supporting and advocating for the Aboriginal community with their health and wellbeing,” she says. “This included both clinical and psychological needs, medical, housing and mental health.”

Lorena started her journey with HNG in 2014, after the group held a practise visit in the GPs office that she worked. As an Assistant in Nursing (AIN), Lorena quickly climbed the ranks and now works as Care and Support Coordinator for the Mid North Coast. “I coordinate services for our clients and support them and their families in relation to care and support needed to remain living at home,” she says. “I love being able to support our clients by providing them with services to maintain their independence and to remain living in their homes.”

Lorena lives and breathes the company’s values. “HNG provide caring, supportive and skilled care workers to deliver quality services in home as well as a network of teams to ensure clients’ needs are met to remain living at home with a little bit of assistance,” she says. “Aged care to me is looking after our elders who have contributed to the communities where we get to live and work and give back in appreciation. It’s so important to assist them to remain in their own environment.”

These values perfectly align Lorena’s own passions. “My passion in life is helping others,” she continues. “I am quite often deep in conversation with the many homeless community members here on the coast or stopping on the side of the road to give aid to someone in need.”

If she could give her 20-year-old self any advice, it would be simple. “Always have a go, regardless of the task and make sure you give back,” she says. “Respect your elders, always provide assistance and be kind to everyone. I also enjoy making people laugh, as I’ve found it lifts peoples’ spirits.”

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