Help towards holistic care

Whanake House Charitable Trust chairwoman Lynda Gilkison and personal trainer Daniel Johansen with a plaque the trust was presented with, alongside a $10,000 donation towards a gym at the trust's premises, during the Winton Lions Club changeover dinner last month.

THE Lions Club of Winton has given $10,000 to the Whanake House Charitable Trust, which helps young adults with high-functioning disabilities find a purpose and develop confidence to engage in the community.

During the club’s change-over dinner in Winton last month, trust chairwoman Lynda Gilkison and personal trainer Daniel Johansen were informed of the donation.

Winton Lions Club publicity officer Juon Schoen said Mr Johansen shared his story at a Lions meeting in May and the board of the Winton club voted to assist him to set up the gym at the trust’s property on the corner of Duke and Dee Sts, Invercargill.

Mrs Gilkison said the house had been set up to provide a centralised collection of services targeting all aspects of well-being in a holistic approach for people to grow and find their own “good lives” so they could thrive in the community.

Targeted towards young adults (18-plus) with high-functioning disabilities, the trust aimed to help them transition from high school into the community and workforce, Mrs Gilkison said.

“These young people are typically not captured by other services and have the tendency to fall through the gaps following high school due to a lack of support for people within this age group and level of functioning.”

Mrs Gilkison said the young people needed more support to develop independence in a supportive and safe environment than their peers and often many did not meet the threshold for existing services.

“The aim is that through Whanake House, they can develop these skills, make friends and transition into work, they will find a purpose and develop confidence to engage in the community.”

Whanake House was set up in Southland because young adults with high-functioning disabilities were falling between the gaps and being left behind in a system which didn’t always cater for them, she said.

“We look at our people from a strength-based model and aim to work alongside individuals and their families to build confidence in abilities, to empower these young folk.

“This will also support their integration into existing community organisations and clubs.”

As well as various programmes at the house including a transition service into employment, health and well-being programmes, community development and art and cultural programmes including music, art and creativity, the social group, 2 cool 4 a name, which meets once a month for activities and socialising, would continue to be a part of the house.

The money from the Lions club would go towards an on-site gym, which would be a safe place where people of all degrees of disability would be embraced and fully supported by a personal trainer, Mr Johansen, she said.

“It follows our aim of walking alongside them with health, fitness and well-being.”