A brief overview of the branch history - 1987 to 2010
The branch began in 1987, formed by a group of Wairarapa carers who had been attending the Wellington SF branch. They hired two rooms in Perry Street and began as a carer support service. In the early days of SF Wairarapa, field workers were the drivers of fundraising and have continued to be the foundation of our work. SF Wairarapa received a grant from COGs which enabled the hiring of a coordinator.
About 1990, negotiations were begun to purchase a property at 425 Queen Street, Masterton. This community church building consisted of a house and a hall. Initially, consumers found the large bare hall daunting, preferring to use the rooms in the house. A serious fire destroyed the kitchen and utility area which meant that activities and services operated from the hall. Following the rebuilding of the burned area, a grant from Telecom enabled the addition of a toilet and laundry area.
Deinstitutionalisation in the 1990's saw Regional Health Boards moving people from institutionalised care into the communities. SF Wairarapa obtained contracts for Level 2 housing (respite and rehabilitation) run from 425 Queen Street and a rented property next door. Another grant enabled the building of a workshop for consumers to learn and further their skills in handcrafts. The sheltered workshop environment has, under the government's "Pathways to Inclusion", been closed. Some years later, SF Wairarapa purchased 424 Queen Street for the provision of a Community Participation Centre. This continued with grants and the employment of Community Support Workers. SF Wairarapa was the first non-government organisation (NGO) in the Wairarapa to employ a Consumer Advisor.
As a result of wide consultation of service users, communities, other key interest groups and individuals in the early 2000's, a new strategic direction was decided and the current resource centre has been the result.