Kotahitanga – The road is long but the journey is never dull

Kia ore e te whānau

Back in your inbox. During our e-newsletter break, we’ve had a bit of a re-jig! 
From feedback received, we disovered that:
– Most people preferred a fortnightly over a weekly newsletter
– Some folks prefer a monthly newsletter (if this is you, please reply to this message and let us know – and we’ll sort that. We’d far rather keep you, than lose you because you’re feeling deluged.)
– People would find the following information most useful to know; and we will be using these four key update areas:
1. The difference that your support is making
2. A brief update from day-to-day life at the Retreat
3. Where there are specifc needs – what they are!
4. Some reflective / uplifting content

The Difference that Your Support is Making
This week, I’d like to talk about our Core Work. Because this, overall, is what the community and our donors are enabling to happen. And it’s incredible:
Today’s figures: We have an open caseload of 269 people. That includes people who are:

  • Just today, right now, putting their hand up to explore whether the Retreat might be the support they need.
  • Discerning, with our Team, what the right supports may be. This is not a process we rush; we don’t believe in quick fixes. So; we take time to get to know people and their situation, and to co-design a pathway through stuff
  • Part of our Outreach Support – perhaps attending our Postvention support groups / our Building Mates Programme / our Alternative to Self-Harm / our Grief Supports / Accessing Relationship Support
  • With us as Residential Guests – staying at the Retreat and living amongst us; working with their Peer Support Worker and accessing the BEST that we can offer
  • Receiving regular check-ins, by their preferred method of contact
  • Regularly keeping an online journey, with one our team alongside them as a buddy to feedback, comment and encourage
  • Receiving ongoing funded support such as Counselling, Arts Therapy or Life Coaching
  • Working with one of our Staff Team – maybe our Social Workers (which could include whole whānau input), or our Whānau Leader, receiving cultural support, or our Outreach Leader, receiving Hardship Support and catch-ups at home over a coffee
  • Part of our followup care programme; transitioning out of our Support Framework (but knowing that our door is always open); being awhi’d on their ongoing journey…. YIPPPEEE!

It’s crucial to us that, once people have made the massive (often hardest-of-all) step of reaching out, that we keep our eye on the ball; so members of our Staff and Volunteer Team are assigned as Kaiawhina to each person. Their role is proactively keeping contact; to avoid the situation where people withdraw, because it’s all in the too hard basket. This takes a whole team highly committed approach, overseen by our Service Leader (Suzy) and our EO (Jamie) who make sure there are always, always backstops, reviews and, with the consent of the people we’re working with, liaison with our services who may be involved, so that we’re working together, and not in silos! 

This is the day-to-day bread and butter of our mahi – and it is the outcome of the support of incredibly kind people like you. We truly are all in this together. 

A Brief Update from Day-to-Day Life at the Retreat
Farm Music!
Are you interested in being part of a men’s music project in Taranaki?  Farm Music is about exploring new ways to play with sound and to create yu own instruments and improvisations from items found in your own backyard, shed, paddock or garage.  It’s free to join – all it will cost you is 1-2 hours a week of your time!  
See it as a mental breather from yoru day to day routine to do something totally different.  To learn more about the project, join us for a cuppa on Thursday August 20th, either Startford Dairy, 8 Fenton St, Stratford, 12=1.30pm or at Taranaki Retreat, 517 Hurford Rd, New Plymouth 5.30-7pm.  For more information or to register, please contact Sally Barnett on 021 725598 or [email protected]
This picture features Troy Kingi, a well know NZ singer song writer.  He recently visited the Retreat and gave a short and memorable inpromptu concert for our Guests.  What a blessing!  It reminded me that we just never know what is around the corner and that we need to be open to good things happening, as well as perhaps knowing bad stuff will happen too.  We started out the day with a plan for Boy’s High volunteers to do some grounds work for us (they do this every fortnight – and they are awesome).  
But their teacher, Evan, mentioned their outing to Troy and he was keen to come along and happy to share his talents for others to enjoy.  The whole event was planned in a just a few hours.  Troy was open to coming and seeing the Retreat; our Guests were open to stopping what they were doing and coming along to enjoy and it boosted everyone’s day.

Where There are Specifc Needs – What They Are!
We have been hit hard by the financial implications of the pandemic. We continue to lobby the Government to support Grassroots services like ourselves who are working in Suicide Prevention. Our funding is through our community; people like you and me who make the choice to give what we can. We critically need support to keep up with the level of demand. The very, very best way to support is through our “Shout a Stay” Programme. You can fund therapeutic work, kai, even an entire whānau stay – either with a one-off donation, or with a regular gift. It would be beyond awesome if you’d think about this (by the way – THANK YOU – if you already support us in this way! …where would we be without you? Stuck…) – you can find out more about the scheme on our website here for one-off donations, or here for ongoing gifts. Of course every gift is tax-reclaimable; but far more importantly, you will KNOW the difference you are making. 

Is there anyone you could forward this onto, who might be open to supporting a truly good cause?

Some Words for ReflectionYou may be familiar with this cool poem, entitled Worst Day Ever? Written by a teen called Chanie Gorkin. Have a read.Today was the absolute worst day ever
And don’t try to convince me that
There’s something good in every day
Because, when you take a closer look,
This world is a pretty evil place.
Even if Some goodness does shine through once in a while
Satisfaction and happiness don’t last.
And it’s not true that
It’s all in the mind and heart
True happiness can be attained
Only if one’s surroundings are good
It’s not true that good exists
I’m sure you can agree that
The reality
My attitude
It’s all beyond my control
And you’ll never in a million years hear me say
Today was a very good day

Did you read it? OK; now read it again from bottom to top, the other way.Sometimes the answer lies in, literally, turning stuff around, and looking at it through the other end of the telescope / seeing the other side.
Jamie Allen
Executive Officer, Taranaki Retreat – and your companion on this journey.