From Brixton to the Niagara Falls – Sarah’s recovery journey

I was very excited when I was selected to be the Mosaic Clubhouse member representative for the trip to Toronto. Though initially I did not realise I was the only member going, when I did it made it even more special for me, but I also felt responsible to do a good job of it. This was all made easier with my lovely travelling companions Dawite, Luna and Luke, or colleagues as we know them in the Clubhouse.

Our mission was to go to Progress Place (PP) the clubhouse in Toronto and learn how they operated according to the International Clubhouse Standards, a set of guidelines for the running of each clubhouse. PP is a much bigger clubhouse, about three times the size of Mosaic, (but they do not have outside space for a lovely garden as we do) with a larger membership.

I must admit I was more excited at the prospect of perhaps going to Niagara Falls than anything else. But I got started on the reading materials , turns out there was lots of it!

We were to be in PP Monday to Friday for two weeks getting experience in the three different units: The First Floor, the Clerical unit and lastly the Cafe unit. This latter one I was dreading as I cannot cook; but supported by Dawite and the staff I coped quite well in the end: I helped prepare vegetables on the first day and portion food out the next day.

At the end of each day we had “Wrap up sessions”, for which we had to do the background reading, to have informed  discussions about different aspects of the clubhouse. For example: The Work Ordered day, Education and Employment. These discussions made the standards come alive for me and I grew to understand how a clubhouse functioned and why. At one point rehabilitation was mentioned, it struck a chord with me as I had never seen myself as being so, but of course I was; very slowly perhaps, but through attending and participating in the activities and opportunities made available to me including the trip to Toronto. I have been in rehabilitation, though I prefer the word recovery myself.

So I got a lot out of this great trip, the fun with my colleagues, made some new friends, a whole host of new experiences and knowledge. And yes I did make it to Niagara Falls as well!

Sarah B Flanagan

(Left to right: Luna, Sarah, Dawite and Luke)

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