ARAFMI holds open day

The Yakkalla program band

Central Coast ARAFMI, or Association of Relatives and Friends of the Mentally ill, is hosting an open day on June 9 to show the community what services they offer and to celebrate 45 years of service to the community.

One program the service offers is the Yakkalla social and recreational program that caters to everyone over the age of 18 who has been affected by mental illness.

The program is based in Bateau Bay and attendees can participate in a range of activities such as social outings, wellness workshops including mediation, walking and stretch groups, art and crafts classes, music interest groups, woodworking, theatre sports, bowling and pool competitions.

Yakkalla Coordinator, Dave Runge, said that around 60 people participate in the program.

“They all cherish this place, we have some members that have been coming here for 25 years.” Runge said.

Yakkalla is shown to benefit those who are experiencing social isolation and it connects them with their local community.

The program’s approach to recovery and wellness is tailored to each participant and offers them a chance to develop new skills and make new friends in a safe and nurturing environment.

“I don’t turn anyone away.

“Our programs are all very successful.” Runge said.

Other programs that ARAFMI Central Coast offer include carer support groups for people who look after a family member with mental illness.

Carers are people who support a mentally ill person with social assistance, financial assistance, emotional assistance and practical support.

These groups participate in activities such as day trips, cinema events and family fun days.

There is also education and training, like trauma and first aid, available through ARAFMI.

Carers can also join the Share and Care Group, run on the last Wednesday of every month in Kincumber, and a Wellness Walk Group that meet at the Woy Woy Waterfront on the second Tuesday of every month.

The organisation also has support programs for grandparents who are raising their grandchildren, and also a group for individuals who have been diagnosed with Younger Onset Dementia.

The Open Day was held at Lerida House in Narara.

On the day, visitors had the opportunity to tour ARAFMI’s new mental health and carers’ respite accommodation, as well as learn about the programs on offer.

Wellness, art, dance and pottery demonstrations were also shown, and the Yakkalla band performed at the event.

Harry Mulholland