Authors: St Vincent de Paul Society (Wollongong Diocesan Council) and Centacare Wollongong
Event: 2003 TheMHS Awards
Type of resource: TheMHS Awards
Award state: NSW
Award level: Winner
Award category: Recovery Program or Service
Abstract: Compeer Illawarra runs two programs. Compeer one-to-one: Compeer staff recruit, screen, train and match volunteers from the community with professionally referred adults receiving mental health treatment in a one-to-one friendship. Volunteers are asked to give a minimum of four hours a month for one year. The volunteers and their Compeer friend (consumer) meet regularly for one or two hours a week and engage in mutually agreed upon activities that they both can enjoy and afford. Volunteers are not counsellors or therapists they are friends. Volunteers receive no reimbursement for out of pocket expenses. Compeer Social recreational day program: Compeer facilitates the running of a social recreational program two days a week for chronically unwell adults with mental health problems unable to access mainstream social activities. Consumers and volunteers participate in activities such as picnics, drives, shopping outings, movies and BBQs. Compeer’s primary goal is to improve the quality of life of people living with a mental illness through friendship and social interaction. Description of Facility/Organisation: Compeer Illawarra was launched in March 2000. The model originated in Rochester N.Y. in 1973 and has proven to be a very successful model on which many other peer support and volunteer programs have been based. In America the program provides disability support services such as friendship, skill building, recreational, hospital visitors, adolescent and child mentoring. The Wollongong program services the local Government areas of Wollongong and Shellharbour but we hope to expand into the Shoalhaven and the Macarther-Wingecarribee area. At present the one-to-one program has one staff member 20 hr per week with a budget of $55,000 and the Social Recreational Program employs one staff member 22 hrs per week on a budget of $36,000. At present we support 59 consumers.