Sad demise of Mana Recovery
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.