On Wednesday, May 15, clients and staff shared a final farewell lunch together at Sunflower House before its closure next month.
One Door Sunflower House has been supporting the Ulladulla community since 2007, providing day-to-day support to its members, who are living with mental illness to build capacity and skills of independent living.
Support workers at the centre have helped hundreds of people in the Milton-Ulladulla community by offering activities and safe place for people with mental illness.
"We would run a program three days a week and we would do things like outings, tenpin, recovery support groups and it's also been a place that people know is a safe place," support worker Kylie Rawson said.
"They can come and connect with a support worker if they have issues and they need to talk or they can connect with their friends. It's been a real positive program for the organisation."
Funding for the day to day living programs, run by Sunflower House, will end across Australia. Previously programs had been funded by the Commonwealth Government, however, the funds will now be placed into the NDIS. Day to Day programs will cease across Australia on June 30.
"It is a huge loss and this is due the government reform of how these services are funded," Ms Rawson said.
Participants who have a NDIS package will be transitioned to Yumaro or Flourish in Ulladulla. Sunflower House staff have also transitioned to Yumaro, which is crucial for clients support worker Julie Jefferys said.
"[Yumaro] were really great saying they would like to take the existing workers with the clients, so the transition was as smooth as possible for them," she said.
"They can continue working with the existing worker rather than forming a whole new relationship with the worker that they didn't know or trust, which is really important."
Ms Rawson said the Commonwealth had announced continuity of support money, but she said some clients will be left with uncertainty when Sunflower's doors shut.
"The ones who don't have an NDIS plan, we are unsure how that is going to look for them. We probably won't know when the doors close at the end of June," Ms Rawson said.
Together with other organisations, One Door Mental Health had raised concerns about the gaps in the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) and ceased funding for "vital psychosocial programs with the government" a One Door Mental Health communications manager said in a statement.
"Sadly, the Commonwealth government has not acted on our concerns, which means funding for the Day to Day Living (D2DL) programs will end on the June 30, across Australia. The priority focus of all D2DL programs is to support consumers to access the NDIS; we will keep doing this until our funding stops."
Day to Day Success
Mollymook's Sue Dent was suffering severe symptoms of depression six years ago. She wouldn't talk, couldn't dress herself and had no support.
"I just kept shutting things down," she said.
More than half a decade later, Ms Dent attributes her positive improvement to the support and care shown by Sunflower House staff and friends at the centre.
"It actually saved my life," she said.
"The people, the staff, they're just amazing. It's like they're family."
With the closure ahead, Ms Dent, like many others at the farewell lunch, did not want to see Sunflower House's doors close.
Her first claim to the NDIS was rejected and she awaits a response to her second. She won't let worrying about what's ahead cloud her judgement.
"I've stopped myself worrying about these things," she said.
"I hope everyone here finds their place, and the staff also."
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