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Funding shortfall for program

Friday, 25th May, 2018

Mission Australia Program Manager, Jenna Bottrell, and Peer Support worker Elliott Dunn promoting their new Connections program. Mission Australia Program Manager, Jenna Bottrell, and Peer Support worker Elliott Dunn promoting their new Connections program.

A program created in the city to help people suffering from loneliness has received a great response, but requires more funding.
Funded by NSW Health, the Connections program was started by Mission Australia, the Far West Local Health District and GROW to link socially isolated people to community activities after hours when there are very few services open.
While the program has been a huge success since it started in August, Mission Australia Broken Hill is calling for long-term funding for the new Connections program which is successfully addressing loneliness experienced by people in the local community.
The new Connections program has been providing after hours support for more than 70 people since August 2017.
It is a unique service delivered by Mission Australia Peer Workers with lived experience of mental ill health.
The five most frequent Connections attenders have spent 65 per cent less time in acute mental health inpatient units than they did in the six months before the service opened.
These same five people have also spent a lot less time in the Emergency Department (ED), with a reduction in ED presentations of approximately 80 per cent.
“Broken Hill is quite a geographically isolated community and there are many residents who are experiencing loneliness, social isolation and mental illness,” Mission Australia Program Manager, Jenna Bottrell, said.
“Some have found themselves coming to the local hospital for support because they have nowhere else to go at night or on the weekend and no real social network to reach out to. 
“We started the Connections program because there was a real need for support for people who were lonely or experiencing mental illness.”
Jenna said they have received positive feedback on the program which includes activities like arts and crafts, Tai Chi, cooking, gallery tours, Silverton outings and every second Sunday there is a luncheon.
“We would love to see long-term funding for the Connections program so that we can continue to assist people who need that extra support in the evening and on weekends.”
Contact the Connections team at Mission Australia on 8084 3700 or 0436 658 343 or pop into the office at 146 Chloride Street to find out more and get involved.

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