Queenstown mental health centre on brink of collapse


One of Queenstown’s vital social service agencies is on its last legs.

The Queenstown Lakes Family Centre is just six weeks away from closure, manager Ilona Weekley tells Mountain Scene today (Sunday).

The centre’s cash will run out early in April, she says.

The Frankton-based Family Centre runs what it calls “specialised counselling and intervention services…for children, adolescents and their families with mild to moderate mental health, behavioural and emotional issues”.

Since its establishment in 2004, the centre says clinical services have been provided to an average of 280 families annually.

More than 200 individual children and youths have been helped in the past year alone.

Demand for its core services exceeds capacity and waiting lists are usual, the centre adds.

Board of trustees chair Geoff Shirley told Newstalk ZB earlier today that community help is needed and the centre is organising a charity dinner and golf tournament.

Latest financials obtained by Mountain Scene reveal the trustees have an uphill battle to save their centre.

Over the two years to last June, the centre recorded cumulative losses of $91,510.

Income – which mostly comprises grants – rose $10,671 to $323,036 in 2012.

Yet costs in the same year climbed $53,000 to $393,544.

Wages and salaries of the centre’s two full-time and seven part-time staff came to $269,381.

Shirley and Weekley point out their centre gets only a small part of operating revenue from government coffers.

In 2012, state funding comprised a $125,170 Ministry of Social Development grant, making up 39 per cent of the centre’s operating revenue.

Shirley says he’s hit the Government up for more: “It’s not looking promising at this stage.”