Cross­roads help­ing peo­ple get back on track

Be­ing here was a prime part of my re­cov­ery and get­ting back on track. When I came here I was quite vul­ner­a­ble, frag­ile and un­sure ...

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS - By JESS LEE

A mod­est build­ing on Great North Rd is pro­vid­ing adults af­fected by men­tal ill­ness with the frame­work to get back on track.

Cross­roads Club­house helped Grey Lynn res­i­dent Emma Nel­son get back on her feet af­ter a set­back 18 months ago.

The Grey Lynn char­ity pro­vides peo­ple who have had their lives dis­rupted by men­tal ill­ness with the op­por­tu­nity to work and learn new skills as well as the chance to be part of a com­mu­nity.

Nel­son joined the club­house as a mem­ber about a year and a half ago and was asked to be­come a per­ma­nent staff mem­ber at the end of last year. ‘‘Be­ing here was a prime part of my re­cov­ery and get­ting back on track.

‘‘When I came here I was quite vul­ner­a­ble, frag­ile and un­sure but I found a very gen­tle and sup­port­ive place, both in the struc­ture of the day and in the peo­ple who come here and run it.’’

The club­house, part of the Arahura Char­i­ta­ble Trust, is open five days a week.

Mem­bers can vol­un­teer to help run the cen­tre, with ad­min­is­tra­tive jobs or cook­ing in the kitchen.

Clean­ing jobs are handed out by a lucky dip sys­tem, so even the cen­tre’s di­rec­tor ends up scrub­bing toi­lets.

Cross­roads has been pro­vid­ing em­ploy­ment guid­ance, sup­port and af­ford­able meals and laun­dry since it started in 2002. It now has more than 100 mem­bers. The club­house sys­tem bridges a gap in the men­tal health sys­tem, Nel­son says.

‘‘From my own ex­pe­ri­ence of drop­ping out of the pro­duc­tive cit­i­zen-type role, if you’re not well there’s a stage that you might need real care but then there’s this big gap be­tween feel­ing ok to man­age a day and then go­ing straight back into work again.

‘‘There’s some­thing about keep­ing up a rou­tine and start­ing to get back into a struc­tured life that’s good for peo­ple.’’

Pt Che­va­lier-based mem­ber Skye has been com­ing to the club­house for the last two months af­ter hear­ing about it through a re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion cen­tre.

She says it is help­ing her to gain use­ful skills that she can add to her CV.

‘‘I’d rather be do­ing some­thing than noth­ing at all.

‘‘It helps to be able to have some­thing on your CV and I like do­ing my part in sup­port­ing the com­mu­nity.’’

The club­house is hold­ing its an­nual garage sale to­mor­row in or­der to fund- raise for its on­go­ing costs. It will be held at 393 Great North Rd, Grey Lynn from 8am.

Photo: JESS LEE

– Emma Nel­son Work­ing to­gether: Grey Lynn’s Cross­roads Club­house mem­ber Reed, fa­cil­i­ta­tor Emma Nel­son and mem­ber Pesa with Molly the dog.

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