Authors: Murray Mallee Consumer Advisory Group
Event: 2001 TheMHS Awards
Type of resource: TheMHS Awards
Award state: SA
Award level: Gold
Award category: CONSUMER/CARER PROGRAM OR SERVICE
Abstract: We Now Walk Tall (WNWT) mental health Consumer/Carer performance group has been developing format material based upon their personal experiences of survival since 1997. The group are responsible for writing suitable poems, songs and political satire for presentation to MH consumers/carers, professional and allied workers, and the wider community. Via successful grant submissions, the group have accessed over $30,000 in funding. This money has enabled the employment of well-known playwright/composer Pat Rix to help in the development of group-members’ individual and group creative/artistic skills, to a highly innovative model for education and attitudinal change. It has also made it possible for the group to travel interstate and around SA to conferences and other venues. WNWT is rural based, with members scattered from Victor Harbor to Pinnaroo (near the Victorian border). It is necessary for members to travel to Murray Bridge to attend workshops and rehearsals (coordinator travels 6 hours to do this). The group has recently produced a high quality promotional video and CD, and are currently negotiating funds to update their written material into a new booklet. Their previous booklet printed in 1998 (2000 copies) has been distributed throughout Australia, and is widely acclaimed. Description of Facility/Organisation: We Now Walk Tall (WNWT) is a mental health consumer/carer educational performance group. Although we are a South Australian rural group based in the Hills, Mallee Southern Health Region, our members are scattered throughout the entire region. We travel regularly to the regional centre of Murray Bridge to attend workshops and rehearsals. There is a growing demand for us to travel further afield to perform. The group’s operating budget depends entirely upon successful grant applications, and minimal financial and in kind support from the Regional Mental Health Services. Since 1998 WNWT has successfully accessed over $30,000 to fund its activities, development, promotional material, travel costs and conference presentations. This ongoing exercise for group survival has resulted in the group developing a substantial and useful network system, which in turn has helped to promote the group as experienced performers within the mental health community. Successful funding allocations have been obtained from: Country Arts SA; SA Mental Health Services, Disability Action (Advocacy Group); Community Benefits SA; Hills, Mallee Southern Region Health Services; LeisureLink. Staff Numbers 1 Voluntary Unpaid Coordinator (carer member) 1 Playwright/Composer when funds are available to develop new material and for performances 1 Music Tuition Teacher to teach members guitar, keyboard and drumming skills. 10 plus group members - this varies due to members’ wellness and job opportunities.