The newly refurbished Clubhouse will provide ‘hope, dignity and opportunities’ to mentally unwell people, according to its CEO.
CEO and founder Emily Adamberry Olivero watched on as Fabian Picardo opened the centre at 304a Main Street yesterday.
The reopening saw it packed with existing members, representatives from businesses, the public and politicians alike.
Clubhouse Gibraltar is a charity focused on providing mental health help to people on the Rock with mental health problems or illness.
Previously situated on 24 Wellington Front in Queensway, the relocation to the bespoke new premises has been welcomed by CEO Emily Adamberry Olivero.
The charity relies on local fundraising activities, grants from the Government, donations and sponsors from people and businesses in the community.
The money raised has helped go towards the renovation of the new building which has taken eight months.
Originally founded in 1948, Clubhouse is internationally recognized to help provide mental health support.
Adamberry talked about the personal situation that had led her to open the centre in the first place.
“I’d like to mention my brothers, Tom, Jim and Ernest Adamberry who suffered from mental illness and they were the inspiration behind all this,” she said.
“I’ve known the distress, the disorder that surrounds the family when you live in shame and don’t want to tell anybody.”
There are hundreds of Clubhouses around the world in over 30 countries, all based on a psycho-social model, helping people to reach their full potential through different activities and interactions.
Gibraltar CEO Emily Adamberry Olivero first opened the Gibraltar branch in 2009 and found that the model fit what she had been looking for while campaigning for a better quality of life for people with mental illness.
“In those days you only got treatment when you were mentally ill, but if you were mentally well you got on with life and if you were somewhere in between you got nothing,” revealed Adamberry.
“There was a big void. You are just lost in the wilderness and if you survived it, fine. A lot didn’t.
“Suicides haven’t just started now, as they are only more obvious now because there is better communication.”
She said her volunteers aim ‘to provide an environment that gives respect, hope and dignity and opportunities’.
Membership is application based, with those who have a mental illness needing a letter of referral to endorse that they have a mental health condition and that Clubhouse would benefit the person.
Clubhouse provide 45 hour weekly support with 5 qualified health professionals for free only for members of Clubhouse.
The new premises features more private areas, something that was thought to be a need, as well as a proper cafe area.
A kitchen, business and administration and charity shop will further support the charity’s self-financing model.
“I’m very happy to say that clubhouse fills this void – it’s a place where people can be rescued from the distress.