Reg Lambert's solution to Peel hospital congestion and addiction

Reg Lambert left town a year ago to take on a new challenge at 94 years old, which he says could free up hospital beds and help those suffering from addiction in Mandurah.

The local legend helped homeless in the Peel region for more than two decades of his life, many who suffer from mental health issues and drug and alcohol addiction.

Mr Lambert and his wife made themselves homeless for four years to understand how people reached that point. 

Governments should be focusing on prevention measures before it gets to that point.

Reg Lambert

He founded non-profit volunteer group Peel Connect, which conducts night patrols helping people sleeping rough on local streets by providing care packages.

In February 2018, Mr Lambert moved to a property near Mullewa to work in an addiction rehabilitation centre.

Mr Lambert said the facility, called Wandalgu, provided an isolated sanctuary for those suffering from addiction. 

"Addiction is getting worse everywhere," he said. 

Addiction is getting worse everywhere.

Reg Lambert

"We offer people friendship and love to try and wean them away from the people who were leading them into all sorts of disasters."

Mr Lambert said the Peel Health Campus emergency department and other hospitals across Australia were unnecessarily congested.

"Governments should be focusing on prevention measures before it gets to that point," he said. 

"Men, women and kids all presenting with problems from alcohol and drugs - it's not a happy situation.

"I have been overseas, but I have never seen quite seen so many issues as I have in Australia."

Mr Lambert said non-profit and volunteer groups were the key to helping those suffering. 

"I feel it can only be done in a personal way," he said. 

"It is getting out there and alongside people and hearing their story, before we can do anything else. 

"Friendship, I believe, and love, is the only way we can legitimately talk to anyone about their problems."

Mr Lambert said he continues to dedicate his time to helping others, in ode to his late wife, Bet. 

"She told me, 'you have work still to be completed'," he said. 

"I wanted to continue to work with people suffering."

Get in touch with Wandalgu by contacting Graham Fabien on 0427 324 626.