Sad demise of Mana Re­cov­ery

Kapi-Mana News - - OPINION -

The news last week that Mana Re­cov­ery had gone into liq­ui­da­tion came as a shock to many in the Porirua com­mu­nity.

The out­pour­ing of dis­be­lief and sad­ness on so­cial me­dia from many sec­tors of the city was raw.

It has led to ques­tions over why the or­gan­i­sa­tion, which over­sees Trash Palace and pro­vided work for dozens of peo­ple with men­tal health dif­fi­cul­ties, got to the point where liq­ui­da­tion was the only way out.

About five years ago, KapiMana News ran a story on a ‘‘fence of hope’’ that was erected out­side Mana Re­cov­ery’s hor­ti­cul­ture train­ing unit, Vail­ima, in the for­mer Porirua Hos­pi­tal grounds.

Each colour­ful post on the fence had a word that meant some­thing to the em­ploy­ees – such as faith, good­will, fam­ily, trust and hope.

Through the ex­cel­lent work of the com­mu­ni­ca­tions team at Mana Re­cov­ery, we’ve been able to re­port many of the or­gan­i­sa­tion’s awards and suc­cess sto­ries. The Porirua com­mu­nity is well aware of the good work it does.

Take 2012. Mana Re­cov­ery was the supreme win­ner at the Welling­ton Air­port Com­mu­nity Awards, recog­nised for giv­ing peo­ple (and refuse) a sec­ond chance, train­ing about 100 peo­ple per year and turn­ing over $1.6 mil­lion.

At its height, Mana Re­cov­ery had about 80 trainees and 53 staff.

The de­ci­sion of Mana Re­cov­ery’s fun­ders to dis­man­tle the or­gan­i­sa­tion has de­stroyed much of the good­will and hope that had been built up.

Mana Re­cov­ery will cease all its op­er­a­tions by late April.

Be­fore los­ing fund­ing last year, Mana Re­cov­ery pro­vided so­cial skills and vo­ca­tional train­ing for peo­ple with a men- tal ill­ness for more than 18 years, and did it very well. It had an im­por­tant place in this com­mu­nity.

Now Cap­i­tal & Coast Dis­trict Health Board, which gave that vi­tal fund­ing, has de­cided to ‘‘move to a new model of pro­vid­ing men­tal health sup­port’’.

Ac­cord­ing to an or­gan­iser from the Ser­vice and Food Work­ers Union, which as­sists Mana Re­cov­ery em­ploy­ees, hol­i­day pay and re­dun­dan­cies may not be paid out.

A press re­lease from Mana Re­cov­ery – af­ter which no com­ment to me­dia was made – said the in­creas­ingly com­pet­i­tive mar­ket got too much.

It is likely the dis­trict health board has its hands tied at gov­ern­ment level.

Mod­els and sys­tems in all in­dus­tries go through change, but why, af­ter 18 years and such suc­cess, should Mana Re­cov­ery be forced out?

Do the pow­ers- that- be not re­alise that this or­gan­i­sa­tion is not bro­ken? It just needs that surety to con­tinue its good work.

Porirua City Coun­cil is now on hand as the fu­ture of the ex­cel­lent op­er­a­tion to re­cy­cle con­sumer goods at Trash Palace is dis­cussed.

Could the coun­cil bail out Mana Re­cov­ery? It shouldn’t have to.

The strat­egy to com­bat men­tal ill­ness and pro­vide bet­ter out­comes for peo­ple who suf­fer from it lies squarely at the feet of the Gov­ern­ment.

In this case the Gov­ern­ment has missed the boat. When an or­gan­i­sa­tion like Mana Re­cov­ery has had so much suc­cess, the sit­u­a­tion de­mands that the op­er­a­tion be looked at on its mer­its and be given the nec­es­sary cash to con­tinue its good work.

What has oc­curred is un­ac­cept­able and leaves a ter­ri­ble void in Porirua.

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