Back in 2015 PIR began forming relationships with a number of community mental health hostels with a view to offering the residents opportunities to try some social activities on a regular basis. As connections were formed PIR enlisted the support of the Hearing Voices Network of Western Australia in the form of a staff member who would accompany a PIR staff member in taking out the residents on a fortnightly basis.
After much planning the first sessions began at the end of October, when a morning tea was held at Franciscan House to introduce ourselves and the project to the residents at the hostel. The groundwork had already been done with the management of the hostels and they were very much in favour of the project going ahead, knowing we had their cooperation and support was imperative in the success of the programme. With a great turnout at the morning tea we opened the floor up to suggestions for activities to try and we were pleased that there was an abundance from the residents.
DSC_0003Armed with many suggestions we were able to put together a schedule of activities which has continued to grow. Some of the things that the residents and staff have been able to participate in have been: Photography, Bowling, Bush Walking, Sausage Sizzle, Movie’s and Pool amongst other things.
In December a second Hostel came on board and we were thrilled to be introduced to the residents from Deven ish Lodge who have been completely committed and enthusiastic from the start. Each week the sessions have been filled to capacity and on some occasions because of restrictions on space in the two vehicles available we have had to disappoint some residents, but we are hopeful in the near future we may be able to accommodate more people.
As well as forming important relationships with the hostel management, staff, residents and Richmond Wellbeing the project has enabled the residents to form strong friendships with each other which continue to grow back in the residential setting. The comradery shown to each other is inspiring and people are regularly stepping out of their comfort zone to try new things.
“Gets me out of Franciscan House and I get to know people inside and out the house”Some of the feedback received as to why the residents enjoy the sessions so much are:
“Boosts confidence to try new things”
“Going in a group is more comfortable”
“I attend every session but wouldn’t normally be able to do things because I don’t have much cash”
“The staff are very helpful and respectful”
“It builds relationships and get to see new surroundings”
We are very committed to growing the project further and very proud of all the residents who have been willing to try something new.