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Miners smash fundraising target for local charity

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9 February 2018

New Acland miners are making new air conditioning a reality for mental health charity Toowoomba Clubhouse after delivering a cheque for almost $14,000 on Friday.

The miners smashed their original $10,000 target following a series of employee barbeques, a community raffle and the cashing-in of some unused copper from the mine site.

Toowoomba Clubhouse Chief Executive Officer Deborah Bailey said Clubhouse staff and members were looking forward to the much-anticipated air conditioning units.

"Our facility can get really warm during summer and while air conditioning has always been on our wish list, we rely solely on grants and donations and have never been able to afford it," Deborah said.

"We were absolutely over the moon when New Acland Mine chose to fundraise for us and knew exactly where to invest the money."

"Aside from donating the funds, the mine’s health and wellness committee has done a lot of work getting the word out about what the Clubhouse does and how we help local people recovering from mental illness."

New Acland’s Senior Health and Safety System Coordinator Stewart Sherrington said the fundraising effort was championed by the mine site’s Health and Safety Committee, made up mine employees and contractors.

"New Acland Mine takes mental health very seriously and our committee was really inspired after learning about what the Clubhouse does," Stewart said.

"We reached out to local business and had a tonne of support in providing prizes for the raffle and supplies for our barbeques."

"While our health and safety committee led the charge, the fundraising was a great team effort by community, our miners and New Acland’s contractors and suppliers."

Toowoomba Clubhouse is part of an international Clubhouse movement, which offers a safe place for people battling mental illness to help them recover and develop work and social skills.

The Clubhouse is open five days a weeks and currently has about 40 to 50 members visiting daily.

Toowoomba Clubhouse Chief Executive Officer Deborah Bailey said the Clubhouse is all about helping members recover from a mental health issue, no matter what the issue is or how long their recovery.

"Something that can make a huge difference during recovery is work experience so the Clubhouse offers valuable work opportunities to our members," Deborah said.

"Members can choose to work in one of three ‘units’, where they develop real-world skills in hospitality, gardening and administration."

"Socialising is another important part of recovery and the Clubhouse offers members the opportunity to share their experience with people going through a similar journey."


"Clubhouse has helped me feel like I'm a capable human being again and that my life didn't end when I was diagnosed with a mental illness."

Steve H.  clubhouse member

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"Before coming to Toowoomba Clubhouse my depression was severe.  I was struggling to meet the right people and trouble seemed to find me.  I've worked in the gardens at Clubhouse for the last three years and this has helped me build my confidence and feel valued again.  I was unhappy but now, Clubhouse has given me my joy back."

gordy o.  clubhouse member

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"Before Clubhouse I was feeling isolated and was looking to connect with people but didn't know how to go about it.  I'd lost a lot of friends through my mental health challenge.  Now, Clubhouse has given me the want and the will to go out, to try new things and get on with my life."

kay w.  clubhouse member

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"Toowoomba Clubhouse is a great place to come if you are lonely and especially if you lack confidence.  By coming to Clubhouse you can learn new things and build your confidence."

ruth s.  clubhouse member

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