Phoenix House today celebrated 25 years of service to the community while officially opening its newest counselling facility in Bundaberg.
It's an achievement that has been a long time coming, according to Director of Services Jason Rushton, who said the service had grown considerably since its establishment in 1994.
“It began as a collaboration between Lou Gatti and Kathy Prentice, who applied and received funding through Queensland Health to establish a Sexual Assault Service for young woman,” he said.
“This was called Bundaberg Area Sexual Assault Service, commencing 5 January 1995 at the Enterprise Centre.
“Today, 25 years later, we are proud to say that Phoenix House has morphed into a service catering for all genders and ages as a community counselling and support service.”
Bundaberg Region Mayor Jack Dempsey attended today's ceremony and congratulated Phoenix House Association on their service.
“Phoenix House recognises the importance of safety, social connection, inclusion and wellbeing as paramount, in particular for the vulnerable within our society,” he said.
“They do a tremendous job at understanding, supporting and connecting people.”
Changes create more services at Phoenix House
With Jason's recent arrival to the organisation, he said he was faced with new challenges including being man in a dominated woman’s support service.
He said he began by changing the workforce to include qualified mental health professionals, men and women.
“Phoenix House is very pleased to announce that we now offer all genders and the LGBTIQA+ services for sexual assault and sexual abuse support and counselling,” Jason said.
“Furthermore, we offer trauma and general counselling, NDIS, medicare, community education and prevention programs.”
Jason said with the many changes taking place, it was obvious that Phoenix House services were to be catered for under one roof.
“The journey started in finding a building to host all our services,” he said.
“The building work commenced in October 2019, and it would not have been completed by December 2019, if it was not for the hard work and time put in by our amazing landlords Matt Trims and Helen Cocking.”
Today, Jason said he and the team were celebrating the opening of the new premises at 33 Enterprise Street, showcasing individualised consultation rooms, children friendly rooms, Bumblebees Therapeutic Preschool and a sensory room.
He said Phoenix House was also now working in collaboration with New Life, offering certificate courses on premises to assist individuals who would like to move into the mental health field.
“We start on 9 March with the Certificate in Mental Health IV, and the 10 March with the Diploma in Community Service Management,” he said.
“We are hoping these education service will continue for our community.”
To find out more about Phoenix House and the services on offer go to www.phoenixhouse.com.au.