25/09/2007 - 22:00

Not for profit: Centres provide the next step

25/09/2007 - 22:00

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Two Western Australian not-for-profit organisations working in mental health services – Richmond Fellowship of Western Australia and Lifeline WA – expanded their operations this month.

Two Western Australian not-for-profit organisations working in mental health services – Richmond Fellowship of Western Australia and Lifeline WA – expanded their operations this month.

 

Last week, Cannington-based Richmond Fellowship won a state government tender to operate four new community residential centres in Perth for people recovering from mental illness.

 

The accommodation centres will be located adjacent to hospitals in Mt Claremont, Kelmscott, Bentley and Stirling, on land owned by the government.

 

Each centre will house about eight residents, as part of the government’s community options program for long-term residents of Claremont-based Graylands Hospital.

 

The Kelmscott centre will open in early 2008, while the other three centres are expected to be established in the next 15 to 18 months.

 

Richmond Fellowship chief executive officer Joe Calleja said the organisation, which assists people recovering from mental illness, had won the tender over a number of larger groups in the disability and mental health services area.

 

Mr Calleja said he believed this was due to the organisation’s extensive experience in service delivery.

 

“I think that what probably made a difference in the eyes of the panel is our absolute clarity of focus on mental illness,” he said.

 

Mr Calleja said Richmond Fellowship would provide intensive support for its new residents.

 

“Certainly, for the first year or so that they’re with us, the focus will be on developing practical living skills, to live independently,” he told WA Business News.

 

“People who are in long-term institutional care can become quite dependent, so there’s lots of rebuilding required.”

 

The organisation owns seven sites in Perth, including its Cannington headquarters, with accommodation facilities in Bassendean, Queens Park, Westminster, Hilton, East Fremantle and Subiaco.

 

In total, Richmond Fellowship provides accommodation for 40 people, and has a further 20 independent living places for people who require support.

 

Its Bassenden site is the longest running accommodation facility, supporting 12 people.

 

“Technically, this is permanent accommodation, but what we do find is that after a few years of building confidence, a number of people move on and find their independence,” Mr Calleja said.

 

Richmond Fellowship is also likely to tender for the state government’s six metropolitan community supported residential units, which are due to be put to tender in the next few months.

 

Each centre will house 25 residents and will be located near hospitals in a similar fashion to the community options centres.

 

An additional four units have been allocated for Bunbury, Albany, Geraldton and Busselton.

 

Meanwhile, counselling service Lifeline WA last week launched its partnership with St John of God Healthcare’s Murdoch and Subiaco hospitals.

 

The organisation will build telephone counselling sub-centres at each hospital, to be branded as Lifeline Murdoch and Lifeline Subiaco.

 

Under the partnership, St John of God will provide the premises for the new centres, while Lifeline will supply the equipment.

 

Lifeline has started recruit-ment for 42 additional counsellors required to service the new centres.

 

The organisation has about 180 active counsellors at its main centre in Perth.

 

Lifeline WA chairman John Franklyn said he expected the organisation to be able to answer about 5,000 extra calls as a result of the expansion.

 

Mr Franklyn told WA Business News Lifeline was able to respond to less than 50 per cent of the 30,000 calls it received to the crisis telephone counselling service annually.

 

In addition to its 24-hour crisis counselling, Lifeline provides counselling for individuals, couples and families, as well as providing a suicide intervention training program and volunteer services.

 

St John of God said in a statement that the partnership with Lifeline was a good fit with its own outreach and advocacy program.

 

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