THE Junction Clubhouse can continue delivering much-needed support for Far Northerners facing mental health challenges, thanks to funding being provided by the Federal Government as a result of advocacy by Leichhardt MP Warren Entsch.
The 12-months funding, a total of $468,142, will enable The Junction to transition to new sources of funding as the Australian Government’s mental health reforms, Primary Health Network Commissioning and the NDIS are implemented progressively from July 2016.
“We are incredibly grateful to Warren for his support of The Junction Clubhouse,” said Adrianne Hicks, Community Engagement Officer at the Mental Illness Fellowship North Queensland (MIFNQ).
“We in Cairns had very few services for people living with mental illness until Warren sourced the initial $350,000 in 2013 to set up The Junction Clubhouse.
“Over the last three years, we’ve seen a growing demand for services in Cairns, to the point that we’ve now outgrown our current facility.
“This funding will ensure we can accommodate the anticipated growth of membership to 150 by late 2016, and we can now plan for the future of The Junction Clubhouse and its staff and members.”
A Clubhouse is a place where people with mental illness can meet with their peers in a supportive environment that provides access to employment and pre?employment activities, improved housing access, social ventures, social activities, peer support, mentoring, life skills development and a range of self?directed activities.
“The Junction is a very successful model based on other Clubhouses from overseas and around Australia,” Mr Entsch said. “The holistic approach is an innovative way of supporting people facing the challenges of mental illness, particularly in regional areas.
“Currently The Junction has 125 members but there’s further growth anticipated because there is no other service of its kind in Far North Queensland.
“I’ve visited the Clubhouse several times and it’s always great to see the engagement by members who are learning computer skills, working in the garden, making lunches in the kitchen, getting assistance into employment or finding accommodation.
“I’m very pleased to be able to help get this funding to lock in The Junction’s services for the next 12 months and support the fabulous work that’s being done by MIFNQ.”
Minister for Health Sussan Ley MP stated: “Warren has worked hard to advocate for The Junction Clubhouse and he understands the important work that mental health support service providers do, both in his electorate and across Australia.”
Mrs Hicks said it was an exciting time for The Junction Clubhouse, with the MIFNQ recently being gifted $520,000 by local woman Mrs Freda Mangano which enabled MIFNQ to purchase new premises on Miller St, Cairns, for The Junction to occupy from the end of March 2016.
“This will enable cost efficiencies given the Junction will no longer be paying rent and will be able to lease the upper floor of the two-storey premises to create income,” she said.
“We’re also hoping to get a commercial kitchen up and running in the premises to sell coffee and lunches to neighbouring offices as another source of income, as well as building the skills of Clubhouse members.”
The Junction Advisory Board, chaired by Justice James Henry, has enabled The Junction to attract local community, business and industry sponsorship to supplement operating costs and promote its activities and initiatives.