Funding blow for help group

Running in the area from 2006, the organisation works towards helping those experiencing, or recovering from, mental illness and homelessness receive accredited training and find employment.

However, future programs have been put on hold after the education funding from the Department of Training and Workforce Development was cancelled and an application to the Mental Health Commission for core funding was put on hold indefinitely.

GTW general manager Cathy Mills said without the funding, they have had to close the employment program in most areas as well as their GroFit program and have also suspended their in-reach program and closed the non-accredited training programs.

‘The Department of Training and Workforce Development funding was approximately 40 per cent of what we needed to continue to run all programs into 2014 without addressing the waitlist,’ she said.

‘There are 90 people employed through our programs and we can no longer offer supported employment for a number of them and employees of GTW, including two peer mentors who were previous participants of GTW, had to be let go.

‘This is a very real and devastating impact of having funding cuts and no support from the government.

‘GTW is disappointed and having to close some programs but we hope to look for funding elsewhere.’

Added to the 90 people currently employed with the help of GTW, Ms Mills said there were more than 100 people on the waiting list that could not be helped without the extra funding.

She said they were hoping donations from the community and local businesses could help them continue until funding became available.

Training and Workforce Development Minister Kim Hames said GTW received funding from the department through the Equity Development Fund.

‘This was a one-year agreement for a specific project with the option to continue for a further 12 months,’ he said.

‘This option was not progressed as, with the introduction of Future Skills WA, the department’s resources are strategically targeted to ensure the state’s training delivery is focused on meeting Western Australia’s future workforce demand and the skill needs of industry.

‘The option to continue funding for the 13 organisations that received EDI funding was not progressed.’