Member for Nanango Deb Frecklington has unveiled a key election promise … $250,000 funding to establish a South Burnett “Clubhouse” in Kingaroy to help improve the lives of people with mental illness. And Mrs Frecklington said she would be working on increasing this “seed” funding to $350,000 if re-elected on Saturday. There has been a Clubhouse operating in Toowoomba since 1996 which provides activities to help its members rebuild their self-confidence, work and social skills. It works on prevention, early intervention and social inclusion.
Centacare South Burnett co-ordinator Louise Judge said there were several local residents who valued the Toowoomba service so much that they travelled there every fortnight to access the facility. Mrs Frecklington said a group of residents – which included Mrs Judge, SB Care CEO Cheryl Dalton and Graham Archdall, from Nanango – had been working for 18 months to try to bring a Clubhouse to the region. “Today I am announcing that if I am chosen to represent the Nanango Electorate for a second term, securing a Clubhouse will be one of my top priorities,” Mrs Frecklington said. “It has been a passion of mine to bring better support to regional and rural areas for people who suffer mental illness.” She said the proposed South Burnett Clubhouse offered a model of care which had a proven track record. It was also fully self-sufficient after its initial establishment, which meant it would not be reliant on government funding to continue its operations.
Mrs Frecklington said she had been working to improve mental health services in the South Burnett since before she was elected to Parliament. In fact, it was one of the main reasons she had decided to become a politician in the first place. “I was a foundation member of the South Burnett Suicide Prevention Group,” she said. “At that stage there was only a very little amount of mental health funding for the region. I kept on asking why and I was told it was because we didn’t have a seat in the government. “That’s why I am so proud to announce this today.”
Agriculture Minister John McVeigh accompanied Mrs Frecklington to make the announcement. He said he had seen how well the Clubhouse worked in Toowoomba. “The Clubhouse can get people the services they need and help fill in the gaps,” he said. He said a South Burnett Clubhouse would also address the growing need for mental health support for the rural community who have been tested by floods and drought over the past few years. “On behalf of Deb, I would like to thank the members of South Burnett Clubhouse Advisory Group who have been working behind the scenes to research and create partnerships to help bring this innovative model of care to Kingaroy,” Mr McVeigh said.
This article and image first appeared in southburnett.com.au, 30 January 2015.