Progetto Itaca – Creation of a Clubhouse in Rome for the Improvement of Social Employment Aid for People with Mental Illness 

Project location: Italy, Rome
Project start date: December 2010 - Project end date: November 2013
Project number: 2010-64
Beneficiary: PROGETTO ITACA ROMA - Volunteer Association for Mental Health

The Nando Peretti Foundation has awarded a grant for this project to increase the level of social and work inclusion of people with mental health problems.
The Clubhouse strategy is based on a model born in New York called Fountainhouse and supported by the ICCD (International Centre for Clubhouse Development). There are more than 300 Clubhouses all over the world of which about 80 based in Europe. ICCD follows a certification program and sets the standards of the Clubhouses.

The Clubhouse is open during the day and works as a club where people with a history of mental illness get together organized in working units. The activities inside the Clubhouse are vital for its functioning (administration, fundraising, kitchen, secretary etc.) and are aimed to reinforce a daily structure work and reaffirm self-confidence.
The Clubhouse is an exercise for an independent life based on the strength of the person, the healthy part, not the on ill one that is taken care outside the Clubhouse through medical care.
The final objective after the work inside the Clubhouse is temporary job outside and eventually employment in the competitive business world.

The most extraordinary feature of the Clubhouse and difference with the current psychiatric approach is that there are no users, consumers or patients, but just members of a club. Their clubhouse could not be run without the involvement or activity of the members. This makes it also a very innovative (new approach) and economic (less staff) model. Members work side by side with a generic and limited staff in the daily running of the Clubhouse.

The Clubhouse is free for its members and they are not paid for work inside. After  work into the Clubhouse, the following phase of the project involves the Clubhouse staff and members to find a job in external firms as temporary workers. The clubhouse staff, members and board will look for contacts with company partners who can offer temporary or permanent job for the members. The clubhouse gives support to its members and staff throughout the recruitment process.
It promotes social inclusion also organizing sport, cultural and social activities in the spare time (evenings, weekends and holidays).
The Clubhouse is going to be located in a building in Via Nomentana 512/Via Terminillo 3, which was found with the help of Fondazione Talenti. Enel Cuore Onlus will help to restructure two and a half floors and Deutsche Bank has promised a donation for three years to pay one person of the staff.
Other Foundations and supporters have been contacted for supporting the first three years of the Clubhouse in Roma.

The association Progetto Itaca Roma was founded on April 26, 2010. Its mission is to develop initiatives and projects for information, prevention and rehabilitation for people with mental illness and support for their families. Progetto Itaca Roma is a no profit organisation based on the work of volunteers who advocate for its mission. It is registered in the General Register of Volunteers Associations of Lazio Region - Italy

For the support of the families of people with mental disorders the association organizes:
the course "Family to Family" for the familiars, with the method of NAMI (National Alliance for Mental Illness - USA), a guide to effort with more competence the problems of severe mental disorders;
Support Groups for familiars with the self-help guide lines.

To develop all its activities the association organizes also:
the volunteers Training Course in collaboration with the association "Insieme con te Onlus" and with psychiatrists, psycologs and social assistent from the public services of the territory.

The association is related and supported with the experience of Progetto Itaca Onlus in Milan which is active since 1999 and in 2005 created Club Itaca, the first clubhouse in Italy.

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