Harmony House celebrates 10 years

Reason to celebrate: Chris Manny, Sandra McDonald and Robyn Charlton at Bradbury's Harmony House. Picture: Chris Lane
Reason to celebrate: Chris Manny, Sandra McDonald and Robyn Charlton at Bradbury's Harmony House. Picture: Chris Lane

It started as a dream but quickly turned into reality.

And this year those behind the formation of Harmony House will mark 10 years since the mental health recovery centre opened its doors in Bradbury.

Sandra McDonald was instrumental in the formation of the centre.

In 2004, a group of about 12 people – led by the Long Point resident – put their heads together to think about how they could support people recovering from a mental health illness.

“When people came out of hospital there was just nowhere to go,” Mrs McDonald said.

“There was nowhere to go and meet others (in a similar situation). That’s how we saw it.

“We formed (not-for-profit) Beautiful Minds in 2004 with the aim of funding and opening a centre. There were a dozen of us and we thought it would take the rest of our lives to do that.”

It didn’t.

The organisation decided to team up with One Door Mental Health – an established organisation.

Reason to celebrate: Chris Manny, Sandra McDonald and Robyn Charlton at Bradbury's Harmony House. Picture: Chris Lane

Reason to celebrate: Chris Manny, Sandra McDonald and Robyn Charlton at Bradbury's Harmony House. Picture: Chris Lane

Those at One Door Mental Heath said they wanted to apply for a substantial grant to open a mental health recovery centre in the Campbelltown area.

The grant combined with money collected through Beautiful Minds fundraising eventually saw Harmony House opened in March 2008.

Since then One Door has continued to run the centre while Beautiful Minds provide regular funding.

“We have kept raising money to support it,” Mrs McDonald said.

“Grants don’t give you enough money for recovery-orientated activities like outings and gardens.

“We’ve also extended the centre twice, replaced the kitchen twice and put in a coffee shop.”

The idea behind Harmony House was simple – provide a place where people suffering from a mental health issues can socialise with others in the similar situation so they can transition back into everyday life.

“It’s not about warehousing people – it’s abut forming friendships and skills, and moving through a difficult period,” she said.

“I think it has been hugely successful.”

Harmony House is located at 103 Hoddle Avenue, Bradbury and is open from 9am till 4.30pm on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays.

Details: 4620 8888.

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