Kim from Bega
& wellbeing promotions delivered
across delivered across 30 Flourish Australia sites
I’d been living in Cronulla for 27 years, and had a good group of friends around me who I knew well, so we would socialise, bike ride and shop together, and generally be quite busy. But then my partner and I moved to Batemans Bay, and our relationship broke down. I became homeless, which resulted in me having a crisis and ending up in hospital.
When Flourish Australia collected me from the hospital I was so scared I ended up driving back to Batemans Bay and stayed a night, before I returned to Bega. Thank goodness I did return. I have really changed in the time I’ve been with Flourish Australia.
One of the main changes was gaining my independence. I had not driven for more than a year, and the team at Flourish Australia encouraged me to practice to make perfect. So I’m able to access the community now by driving, and that makes life much easier. I have no excuse to not be able to do things, because I can!
I spend time taking care of my mental health, by doing exercise and getting out into the community as much as I can. It’s important to keep my head in the
right space. What’s really great is I have a best friend now, and it makes me feel good that I can help by driving her places and then we socialise together with other friends.
I also shop – well I love shopping and if I could, I would shop all day long! That makes me smile. I have other activities that I enjoy too – like going to TAFE, Ricki’s Place for lunch on Wednesdays and dinner on Fridays, plus Monday social group. I also collect vegetables from the women’s resource centre
and cook for my friends – it’s a full week now.
I’ve learnt that I’m a positive force to be reckoned with. I do good deeds whenever I can, and surround myself with good people. I’m known around town as a nice person, and I suppose you’d say I’m quiet achiever.
I’m on the Community Advisory Committee at Flourish Australia and this gives me a real sense of importance, and allows me to experience and understand different communities. I feel I can contribute positively to this group due to my lived experience.
to commence in Wagga Wagga’s supported
I’m 35 years old, and I used to rely on my parents for everything, which meant I did very little by myself. Living on a small family property outside of Wagga Wagga meant that accessing public transport was difficult. But once I moved into Wagga Wagga,
I was closer to facilities and shopping centres and this helped with my independence. But more importantly, having people around me for support was re-assuring, and built my confidence to live the life I want to live.
When the local Community Mental Health team referred me to Flourish Australia, I didn’t know what to expect, it was all a bit new to me. I was nervous and uncertain about living out of home and because I had relied on my parents for so long, I was unsure about a lot of things and didn’t have the confidence to do much for myself.
The biggest challenge for me was to gain courage, and be able to look after myself. I started in the Housing and Accommodation program with the Flourish Australia team around 10 months ago. They helped me to get set up in my new home and establish a daily routine. They also helped me link into the local community gardens, where I volunteered each Tuesday morning, and got to know some familiar faces.
Then I was encouraged to be one of the first people to commence in the supported employment program as it rolled out in Wagga Wagga. It’s exciting because
It’s exciting because as it’s a new program, there are a number of new business contracts which the team has created, and for the last six months now, we’ve been working really well. I’m washing cars and cleaning offices with one of our community businesses.
Working with supported employment has helped me feel I’m part of the community. I’m contributing and doing something good, and this makes me feel fantastic!
I have developed good working relationships with my colleagues, and with the support and encouragement from the Flourish Australia team, I now live independently in a one bedroom unit, close to shops and clinical services. This means that I can now attend appointments on my own, when I need to, and I can buy my groceries without having to rely on my parents to take me. I’ve also learnt a thing or two about cleaning my unit and preparing meals for myself.
I got to this point in my life by staying positive and accepting support from people around me. Letting people know when I needed help was vital, and they were there.
In my free time, I like to be with my family, listen to music and do a bit of fishing. It’s here that I can reflect and think about how far I’ve come in less than 12 months. I’m a happier, better, stronger person now, and I’m really positive about my future.
Jo from Goulburn
& being active
I’ve been with Flourish Australia for a little over two years now. During this time I have made lots of friends. People would describe me as friendly, with a cheeky laugh, trustworthy and reliable, funny and good to be around. I like to visit my friends too. I look after my son and do activities with Flourish Australia. I also look forward to seeing my daughter on a monthly basis.
I feel more connected to my friends, family and community now. My physical and mental health is much better, so I am more comfortable in my home, and not needing to go out all the time. When I go down the street, I am no longer paranoid, and I enjoy going out a lot more. I also love swimming, playing tennis, playing pool, going to coffee group and cooking group.
I’m pretty active, and this has really been a big part of getting ‘me’ back. The Transformers Group is also very educational, and beneficial for coping with daily obstacles and overcoming things.
This is a group that is peer worker led, and made up of people who access the service. During this group time we discuss things we would like to put on our Monthly Activities Calendar, like the quarterly health promotions which I find really interesting. I participated in National Disability Day by playing in a basketball team.
This year I’m starting a parenting course in order to help me get my daughter back. I’m looking forward to seeing my sister who is coming down in September from Queensland. I’m also looking forward to saving enough money to buy a car as I now have my driver’s licence.
I have learnt that I’m capable of doing things that I thought I wouldn’t be able to do, such as obtaining my license, getting my son back, and leading an aqua aerobics group. I have grown, learnt new things and now I’m doing things I like. I have a real sense of belonging and feel part of a group.
Brayden from Towradgi
won an award for
In 2013, my GP recommended I try the New Outlook site in Wollongong. And, over four years I’ve learnt resilience through this process of recovery - bouncing back after a set back. I’ve learnt that my mental health issues are only a small part of me. Coming to New Outlook consistently has helped me a lot. Participating in the groups, completing my Certificate III in an Outdoor Recreation course, and connecting with people has been invaluable to me.
I feel connected and valued because I’m contributing. It’s incredible really. I’m engaged with so many different groups now through my activities, learning new things and developing new interests, and I’m in a great place!
I’m looking forward to completing my Certificate III in Fitness and Certificate IV in Peer Work – studying keeps my mind active. My education takes place within the Flourish Learning Network, which is an organisational commitment to recovery and personal growth through supported vocational education and training.
Partnering with local community colleges and TAFE NSW, The Flourish Learning Network is being piloted at New Outlook and it offers all people accessing
services an opportunity to learn, grow and achieve their hopes and dreams.
I realise I have a lot to contribute. I’m a much better person than when I first walked into Flourish Australia. I’m mentally stronger, and I can turn what’s happened to me into a strength that can help others.
Mental health issues affect many families and places. I volunteer for the Red Cross. I call a different person every day for a month, to check in and have a chat to people that have a mental health issue and experience isolation. That’s 30 people a month who identify with having a mental health issue.
My call can make all the difference. If people don’t have friends or family in their life, I’m happy to just check in to make sure that person is OK. I can relate to the people I call, and when it was suggested I could do this in line with my peer work qualification I jumped at the opportunity.
I like to think that I can help, I can connect with people and make a difference. And my long-term goal for some time now is to be a Peer Worker. It will be a huge achievement for me, but I know it’s the right fit for me.
Joanne from Mortdale
years in a row, performed the national anthem
at the Royal
I decided to stop university as I wasn’t feeling “myself” anymore. I was introduced to a youth worker at Flourish Australia, and from there, I was really lucky because I connected with the team straight away. They made me feel comfortable and gave me a sense of belonging and being understood.
In the beginning when I first started the program, I really didn’t think that anyone could help me overcome my problems. But by doing weekly visits and getting to know the Flourish Australia team, I was able to bond and build a great relationship with them. They were there for me – that was really important. I became more relaxed and comfortable when I talked about my background, troubles, thoughts, and ideas with them.
There were plenty of challenges and hurdles that I’ve faced, as you can imagine with severe anxiety. But now I have a great role working in Childcare and I love it. I’ve been doing a Certificate III Childcare course for the past six months, and I’ve found a job as an Educator at a Childcare centre. I enjoy singing with the kids, and when I bring out my ukulele we have a lot of fun!
I’m dedicated to being a caring and professional member of this profession, so that we can create healthy happy children in a safe environment, so they can succeed in life.
Through my partnership with YPOP I have learnt that I seek and value harmony. I’m open-minded, flexible, creative, passionate, energetic, dedicated and hard working. These qualities I’m using to make my life fantastic. I’ve got so many things I’m keen to do, like travelling to new countries and helping young adolescents with their mental health.
Since graduating from High School I feel more mature, and I have been able to buy a car with my own money, get a job with no help, budget my finances and much more. I’ve started to learn the positives and negatives about life: learning to accept and grow from my mistakes.
I’ve also started to sing in public, which is just incredible. I was always embarrassed, and just didn’t have the confidence to go for it. Now for the last two years I’ve sung the National Anthem at the Royal Easter Show. There is no way I would have auditioned for that before I came to Flourish Australia.
And I have to acknowledge my cats. They have played a major part in eliminating my stress and decreasing my anxiety levels, especially when I’m feeling down or having issues. They also helped improve my wellbeing and boosted my mood.
Being part of YPOP has been transformative on my life. I have taken responsibility for myself and I am very grateful to be part of the program.
Mark from Bondi
graduated with Certificate III in Warehouseing
I live in Bondi, an iconic location in Australia, and I’m lucky enough to be able to bodyboard and swim at the beach during the summer. I’m a fun and social guy, and I’ve really enjoyed connecting with Buckingham House where I have worked. I’ve also been involved in bike riding, touch footy, yoga and the Pre-Employ program.
My journey began around seven years ago. I found out about some work opportunities at Buckingham House through a friend at my local church. I started as a waiter within the Buckingham House, looking after customers, taking orders, waiting on tables and setting up. If I ever needed help with anything I could turn to the peer workers for support. Before I knew
it, I was promoted to kitchen assistant. Here I learnt basic food preparation like washing vegetables, mixing salads, making sandwiches, washing dishes, pots and pans, and cleaning the kitchen.
When my contract ended, I transitioned to Pre-Employ where I worked at Platform 10, which was a conference centre in Redfern. I had a range of duties like, setting up the conference rooms, food placement, coffee and tea organisation. From there I started at OSTARA (DES) to consider open employment opportunities in hospitality and food preparation. Then an opportunity at Prestige Packing, Marrickville, became available and I jumped at it. Here I’m learning new skills such as using the pallet jack, weighing products, stacking pallets and using the tape gun to tape boxes securely. I’ve been working here
for around five years.
I continue to learn new skills. It was a peer worker that taught me how to operate the kitchen at Marrickville. I love working 2-3 days a week doing a
variety of jobs like: preparing tea and coffee; taking orders for morning tea and lunch; money handling; distributing orders; washing kitchenware; cleaning kitchen tables and floors; and ensuring the kitchen is set for use for the next day.
Work gives me a sense of purpose and I feel focused. It also gives me independence as I’m earning my own money, and I can save up to go on a cruise, which I’ve done five times! I’ve also completed a Certificate III in Warehousing. This program was run onsite, and I graduated in June 2017.
I have received a lot of support from Flourish Australia staff and they encourage me to continue participating. I’ve been involved in the Employee Advisory Committee over the last two years.
I was the Chairman, and I represented the Marrickville worksite. This gave me an opportunity to contribute to the decision-making processes on the Committee. It gave me a real purpose and I felt confident participating. Recently I passed over the reins to a fellow peer worker at our Warwick Farm site.
I’m on my recovery journey, but I feel like I have a way to go. I still feel anxious, but I understand that it is bit by bit, and I’ll get there. I feel more connected to
the community now, I have a support group around me, and I have taken steps to build my confidence. By participating and contributing to the community, representing my colleagues in a professional manner, and maintaining friendships have all helped me become the person I am today.
Shae-Lee from Bribie Island
When I met the staff from Flourish Australia my life turned around. Through their consistent communication, and sharing stories, I realised that there was hope for a better life for my children, and it made me realise if you want something badly enough, you can achieve it.
About six months later, it was suggested I do a course, so that I wasn’t home all the time. I was nervous, but talking with the Flourish Australia team gives me confidence and I started to get into the swing of things. After the course, my doctor slowly took me off my meds, and I became medication free!
I’ve learnt I’m very strong minded – in a good way! You have to be strong to get through what I have been through. I’m worth a lot more than what I’d been told, and what I’d believed over many years. If I want to achieve something, I can do it, but I also know that I have supports to fall back on, and I’m not alone.
My children are what motivates me. With the support of Flourish Australia, Child Safety and the foster parent of my children, I’ve stayed focused on getting my children back and being the best parent I can be. It really helped that I could talk to Peer Workers at Flourish Australia, who were a similar age to me, express my thoughts and not be judged. I have full custody of my children now and I’m living again.
With my children back, I’m thriving - they’re happy and we can breathe again. Their foster carer was a big support to me, and still is. She taught me to take responsibility for my past, and to work with Child Safety who had the kids’ best interests at heart.
I have now developed friends in the Child Safety industry, and admire them for the work that they do.
I can solve problems for myself now. At the same time, I have learnt that I need to have people around me to extend my happiness and help out when I need it. I have a driver’s licence, which gives me more independence. I’m managing my children, and I’m teaching them to be patient, kind and use their manners.
With the support of Flourish Australia, I completed a Certificate III in Hospitality and Barista course. This pushed me out of my comfort zone and I began interacting with people in a way that I had avoided for so long. I made new friends with people at the course and this gave me confidence to get out in my community more and get a job. Working has helped me to connect with people daily using the skills I developed through my recovery.
What I love most is that I’m doing everything that everyone else does now. I work, study, have a barbeque at the beach – I’m leading the life I want.
The game changer for me was that people listened to what I needed. They encouraged and supported me, rather than push me to do things that others wanted me to do. They were there when I needed them, and helped me stay focused on my goals.
Now I’m looking forward to pursuing a career in Child Safety and using my lived experience to help others in a similar position to me. I’m also thinking about the best pathways to build my career, as I want to be a role model for my children.