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

TIMELINE OF THE PRESENT ACTIVITY REPORT: From Nov. 2010 to Nov. 2013

The project supported by the Nando Peretti Foundation regards the opening and launch of the Clubhouse in Rome, called “Club Itaca Roma”. It is a Centre for the social and working rehabilitation of young people with a history of serious mental illness. All services offered at the Clubhouse are totally free.

Starting from the beginning of 2010, the 25 founder members and the first volunteers of the Association Progetto Itaca Roma devoted themselves to raise funds to make possible the Clubhouse project.

The aim of this project is to realize social inclusion and wellbeing of people with major mental illness. All goals have been totally reached:

-       Clubhouse official launch on the first of July 2011 and start up of free rehabilitation activities in favor of young people with a mental illness history;

-       at the end of the project financed by Nando Peretti Foundation, Club Itaca Roma consolidate an operative level offering free rehabilitation services to 40 members;

-       third important goal reached at the end of the present project is that 13 members completed the rehabilitation process and are working in external organization, realizing a better and satisfactory life quality.

At the beginning of the present project financed by Nando Peretti Foundation, the Progetto Itaca Roma Association started the renovation works of the Clubhouse office and some preliminary activities for the opening of the new Club Itaca Roma throughout the selection of the director, staff and  potential members.

The building spaces turnout to be particularly suitable for all the Clubhouse activities. There are ample offices, a reception, a conference hall, a professional kitchen and an ample garden where the Clubhouse members and staff work. It is located in a very nice quarter well connected with the center and the Termini station. The building and courtyard belongs to a Religious Congregation (Suore Misericordine di S. Gerardo di Monza), that has signed with Progetto Itaca Roma a contract of free loan for 20 years.

The Club Itaca Roma became officially operative the 1st of July 2011 with 5 members (who became 8 during the same month), one staff and the director. A second staff person was recruited at the end of 2011.

The activities carried out in the first months at the Clubhouse concerned mainly the start up of the structure and of the garden. The Work Units have begun concerning the general secretary, the unit to organize events, the kitchen, the gardening, the administration and the search of work.

Nowadays, the Clubhouse activities are implemented in Work Units divided in four main areas: Clerical, Kitchen, Maintenance, and Arts and Crafts. Each Unit has its own importance, a specific impact on the overall functioning of the Club and includes a series of activities completely realized by members facilitated by only two staff person and one director.

The activities implemented in the four Work Units are:

•          In the CLERICAL UNIT members develops activities of Secretariat (the gathering and processing of the attendance rate of members; reaching out: the set of activities by which the Club keeps in contact with all the members that momentarily are not attending, reaching them by phone calls, home visits, postcards, e-mails); Administration (the petty cash report, inquiries on financing announcements); Communication (management of the website www.clubitacaroma.org and of the Facebook page, planning of the advertising campaigns, brochure and fliers); Press office work (editing of the Clubhouse newsletter “Il Sestante” writing articles and managing information); Events organization; Library; Job research and contact with companies (editing and updating members curriculum vitae, creation of an e-mail  account for all members that do not have one, information material for a first contact with businesses or  interested organizations in order to open up work prospects for members, support activities to help members find jobs through online sites). The Clerical unit, furthermore offers its space to the Training courses organized by the clubhouse. For instance at Club Itaca Roma, members and staff started to implement e new project called “Job Station” in partnership with Accenture company. The “Job Station” idea was born thanks to the “Give Mind a Chance” contest promoted by the Italian Accenture Foundation and Progetto Itaca ONLUS, with the objective of transforming a disadvantage into a resource. Job Station is a teleworking center at the disposal of members ready to work part time, who can work from a distance in external businesses, and at the same time continue to frequent the family atmosphere of the association and benefit from the support of the Club.

•          KITCHEN UNIT incorporates three macro-activities: Kitchen Management (the cash register, present from the start of the club has been systemized, creating a file to register the inflow of the kitchen cash register and the outflow due to the purchase of supplies); Dining Room management (preparation of meals and of buffets for special events, management of dining room based on the number of tablemates); Stock Management of the stock supplies; Cleaning and hygiene care of the kitchen (daily cleaning activities of the entire kitchen area and of dining room spaces).

In the Kitchen Unit, an expert of vegetarian diets was consulted in order to better balance the vegetarian diet that has been implemented since the opening of the Clubhouse, with a study of the nutritional energetic and functional values. After creating the vegetable garden in September 2012 and experimenting in gardening and vegetable growing (several types of salads) the Clubhouse members and staff started an Horticulture course held by a volunteer who is specialized in gardening and in vegetable gardening management. The work on the vegetable garden was continued during all yearlong and small carpentry and upholstering jobs were carried out.

Members engaged in the Kitchen Unit finished to study the HACCP rules and summed up a list of guide rules. They also prepared marmalade made from the lemons which were grown in the garden and labeled them with the Club logo. These marmalades were given to all the guests. They also specialized themselves in buffet preparation for Clubhouse events.

•          MAINTENANCE UNIT incorporates four macro-activities: Gardening work (the upkeep of the external space including the seasonal planning of plants that adorn the Club garden); Horticulture laboratory  (course organized by one of our volunteers that has thrilled our members and that has also had a positive outcome for our Kitchen unit because of the use of our own homegrown vegetables); Carpentry works (small creation of placards for big donors and of different decorative objects); Building general maintenance (clean- up of all the common area of the host structure and small maintenance jobs for example,  internal and external repairs of the building).

•          ARTS AND CRAFTS LAB incorporates various macro-activities: Cards creation (artistic creation of thank-you cards for donors and gadgets that are given out at events); Choir (an activity very much loved by members who practice throughout the year to perform at special events); Artistic costume jewelry creation and ornaments; Small souvenir gifts for Christmas. Creations are exhibited in the Centre during the events.

In three years Club Itaca Roma have been brought to an operative level. Already 13 members on 40 completed the rehabilitation process and are working in external organization and reached a satisfactory life quality. Recently, a great goal was reached by another Clubhouse member employed on a permanent position in NTV Italo Trains company, after a six month stage in the Accountability area.

The Clubhouse activity was mainly focused on the consolidation and continuous improvement in the job field. In 2012 total hours attended by members has been 13.550 and the average daily hours worked by active members has been of 5 hours every day. In 2013 total hours attended are 13.961 and the daily average is 5 hours still.

The number of registered members has increased constantly rising to 40. Recruitment of new members is carried out constantly through different information venues (site, facebook page, organization of events, the greeting and phone answering service). More and more people ask to become a Clubhouse member.

Table n.1 shows number of members accepted at Club Itaca Roma starting from the beginning until December 2013.

Table n.1

   
 

2011

2012

2013

January

-

11

28

February

-

14

33

March

-

15

35

April

1

16

34

May

2

17

37

June

3

20

37

July

5

21

37

August

6

22

37

September

8

23

37

October

9

24

39

November

10

27

39

December

11

27

40

 

A significant indicator is the average percentage of Members attendance at the Clubhouse. General clubhouse attendance on a world scale have a monthly average of 25-30% to be in line with the expectations of a correct functioning and application of the model . This means that the Club Itaca Roma in those years had a very good presence of Members, with a peak of over 63% in September 2013. The annual average is therefore higher than the general expectation on the world scale, as can be seen from graph n.1.

Graph n.1: average percentage of Members attendance at Club Itaca Roma – 2012 & 2013

  


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