Sometimes, opportunities arise even in the middle of a crisis.
First Step has been providing mental health and addiction services to our local community from 42 Carlisle Street for 20 years. Over those years, we have continued to grow and adapt to meet the needs of the community. Our programs and our staff increased, but we remained at the one increasingly busy site.
It was getting tight. And we knew that our capacity to support more clients was limited by space.
Literally over the back fence, on Greeves St, was a beautiful old red brick building which became available for rent just when we needed it. Well, that fence is now gone, and we have two buildings on one ‘campus’, with a courtyard in between.
The new building will house ResetLife and First Step Legal, which have both significantly expanded during lockdown, as well as our executive and philanthropy team.
ResetLife has grown from five clients earlier this year, to over 40, with a waiting list. 39 Greeves Street has a major conference room to run family education sessions from, as well as smaller counselling rooms, and generous amenities.
And First Step Legal have room for an expanding team of staff and volunteers as well as a virtual courtroom.
The ‘new’ building is full of character and history. We believe that it was used as a boarding house for many years; and used to count money from the local parking meters – the walls and doors were fortified steel! We repainted the deep red walls, restored the ornate features on the high ceilings, and reconfigured some of the rooms. We even sourced furniture from a local institution, Big Mouth, which sadly closed due to COVID-19, with our staff carrying tables along Barkly Street!
This is the first time we have physically expanded, and I expect both buildings will be full before too long. We remain dedicated to supporting our clients, and to encouraging the community health sector and government to embrace multi-disciplinary hubs and whole-person care.
Our reception, mental health services, GPs, psychologists and psychiatrist remain at 42 Carlisle Street so you know exactly where to find us if you need us.
Have a restful and rejuvenating end of year break, and please look after each other.