Crossroads helps people get back on track

WORKING TOGETHER: Grey Lynn’s Crossroads Clubhouse member Reed, facilitator Emma Nelson and member Pesa with Molly the dog. 
WORKING TOGETHER: Grey Lynn’s Crossroads Clubhouse member Reed, facilitator Emma Nelson and member Pesa with Molly the dog. 

A modest building on Great North Rd is providing adults affected by mental illness with the framework to get back on track.

Crossroads Clubhouse helped Grey Lynn resident Emma Nelson get back on her feet after a setback 18 months ago.

The Grey Lynn charity provides people who have had their lives disrupted by mental illness with the opportunity to work and learn new skills as well as the chance to be part of a community.

Nelson joined the clubhouse as a member about a year and a half ago and was asked to become a permanent staff member at the end of last year. "Being here was a prime part of my recovery and getting back on track.

"When I came here I was quite vulnerable, fragile and unsure but I found a very gentle and supportive place, both in the structure of the day and in the people who come here and run it."

The clubhouse, part of the Arahura Charitable Trust, is open five days a week.

Members can volunteer to help run the centre, with administrative jobs or cooking in the kitchen.

Cleaning jobs are handed out by a lucky dip system, so even the centre's director ends up scrubbing toilets.

Crossroads has been providing employment guidance, support and affordable meals and laundry since it started in 2002. It now has more than 100 members. The clubhouse system bridges a gap in the mental health system, Nelson says.

"From my own experience of dropping out of the productive citizen-type role, if you're not well there's a stage that you might need real care but then there's this big gap between feeling ok to manage a day and then going straight back into work again.

"There's something about keeping up a routine and starting to get back into a structured life that's good for people."

Pt Chevalier-based member Skye has been coming to the clubhouse for the last two months after hearing about it through a rehabilitation centre.

She says it is helping her to gain useful skills that she can add to her CV.

"I'd rather be doing something than nothing at all.

"It helps to be able to have something on your CV and I like doing my part in supporting the community."

The clubhouse is holding its annual garage sale tomorrow in order to fundraise for its ongoing costs. It will be held at 393 Great North Rd, Grey Lynn from 8am.

Go to crossroads or phone 376 4267 for more information.

Auckland City Harbour News