Newspaper article The Chronicle (Toowoomba, Australia)

The Clubhouse Provides Vital Service to Members

Newspaper article The Chronicle (Toowoomba, Australia)

The Clubhouse Provides Vital Service to Members

Article excerpt

I WANT to tell you about a very special organisation. Perhaps you have not heard of it; I certainly hadn't, until a few months ago.

It's the Toowoomba Clubhouse Association Inc, or simply the Clubhouse.

It was a very worthy beneficiary from the recent Mayoral Prayer Breakfast. Before then, I learned about it when I was contacted by their Top Cheese, Luke Terry, who asked if I would like to get involved.

It took one visit to the centre of their activities, the weird-shaped building in Russell St opposite St James' Parish Church, to realise it is a very special place.

Sometimes you walk into places or events that you know are not your thing. Sometimes, like with the Clubhouse, you know instantly there's something special happening and you've got to be involved!

So what is the Clubhouse? I quote from its own website, toowoombaclubhouse.org.au. It was "established in 1996 to help address a shortage of mental health services for people in the Toowoomba Community".

It has a (quote) "non-institutional, restorative environment within which people support each other in the process of rebuilding self-confidence, work practices and social skills to help them develop the confidence necessary to live satisfying and productive lives ...".

That's simple to say, difficult to achieve but vitally important as a social enterprise. And I'm here to tell you, it works!

The Clubhouse Vision is to promote opportunities for members "to live a life with and beyond mental illness". It provides members with a non-clinical environment where they are encouraged to take a leading role in their own recovery.

Members can choose to join in with structured activities, administrative work, informal discussion, cooking and eating food. Treated with absolute respect, coming and going as they wish, they are encouraged to get involved in the work of the Clubhouse.

"Getting involved" is essential to the Clubhouse's success. Members are encouraged to enjoy themselves with productive work in a casual atmosphere as they rebuild self-esteem. …

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