by Warren Heggarty
Above: In a shady part of the basement is Le Boudoir, a special place fitted with couches where residents can go to chill out and maybe shoot a few hoops!PHOTO BY WARREN HEGGARTY
Manager Sharlene once jokingly asked a resident to accompany her downstairs to the ‘BOUDOIR’ meaning a little recreational area set up in the basement of the Camperdown Units. The name stuck and is now painted on the wall behind the tables, chairs, couches, vegetable plots and barbecue that furnish the chill out zone. There is even a full basketball ring for people who like to shoot a few hoops to relax.
Flourish Australia’s Camperdown and Lilyfield residential units are located in the inner west of Sydney. There are eleven residents and an office in the block of twelve units Camperdown and seven people live in the four two bedroom outreach units at Lilyfield.
The staff are based at Camperdown 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The office has a bed in it- because a staff member sleeps over every night after the office closes at 11PM. Staff also make visits at least twice a day to Lilyfield. The people who access this service have all previously had long hospital stays (a minimum of 15 months). The idea of these residential units is to have support close by so that residents can be as independent as possible.
There is a calendar of social events including weekend outings such as visits to the Aquarium, Coogee, Cockatoo Island and so forth. When Panorama popped in to Camperdown, mental health worker Abby was assisting one of the residents to buy themselves a new bed. Matilda was taking another to pick up some vegetables. Manager Sharlene and Senior Mental Health Worker Toni told panorama that since the NDIS has come in, all of the residents have been connected to services that enable them to live in the community, away from hospital as much as possible.
Physical health is important, so they have good relations with the GPs at nearby Glebe Family Medical Practice. A General Practice Shared Care Clinician based with the health service at Camperdown is also involved.
Many of the residents have also been supported in taking part in the physical health program at the Charles Perkins ccCHIP which we have previously featured in Panorama.
Sharlene and Toni speak about how a number of residents have achieved quite a number of goals lately. Things like completing education, getting employment, applying successfully for a loan and going for a drivers’ licence. Such achievements show that people who have in the past required high levels of support are capable of achieving goals like anyone else. Sharlene said that it would be ideal if one day they could have another block of units which could be a ‘step down’ for when people got to the point of needing less immediate support.
Residents come to Camperdown via a referral process in partnership with Camperdown Community Mental Health Service’s Mobile Assertive Treatment Team (MATT). The flats are leased from Metro Housing and the town houses from St George Housing.
ABOVE: The Camperdown Units are in a convenient and leafy location. PHOTO BY WARREN HEGGARTY