Mum’s group in jeopardy as funds dry up

Taelor PeluseyBusselton Dunsborough Times
The People's Place hosts Radiance, a support group for mothers dealing with post-natal depression, anxiety or isolation.
Camera IconThe People's Place hosts Radiance, a support group for mothers dealing with post-natal depression, anxiety or isolation. Credit: Taelor Pelusey/Taelor Pelusey

The future of Busselton’s only group for mothers dealing with postnatal depression, anxiety or isolation is uncertain, with funding not guaranteed beyond next year.

Radiance is hosted and financially supported by The People Place, which was recently unsuccessful in an application for State Government funding.

People Place chief executive Rilla Beresford stressed the importance of Radiance, and said a lack of funding was putting the centre’s long-term prospects at risk.

“Some of the women who come here have little support locally, or their partners might be fly-in, fly-out,” she said.

“It can be really isolating.

“A lot of mums don’t have to worry about anxiety and things like that, but there are a lot that do — this is for them.”

Radiance is understood to be the only group of its kind in the area.

Similar groups operate around Bunbury and Boyanup, but the mothers told the Times the travel distances were too far.

Busselton’s Stacey Anderson has three children — two of whom are twins — and said Radiance provided much-needed respite.

“This group helps a lot of women like myself,” she said.

“What is everyone supposed to do?

“I just think it’s ridiculous.”

The People Place supports some 3000 people every year, but was unsuccessful in an application to the Empowering Communities Program.

It is understood the centre did not fit the program’s rigid criteria.

Department of Communities acting assistant general commissioning and sector engagement director Brad Jolly said while unsuccessful, funding had been extended by a year and a half to June, 2020.

Vasse MLA Libby Mettam said the temporary extension of funding was not enough to allow for long-term planning and was concerned Radiance’s closure would cause women to retreat.

“If the only option for these time-poor parents is to travel to Bunbury for this support, I think we will see many turn their backs on reaching out which would be a concerning outcome,” she said.

Mr Jolly said the department would work closely with the centre to help develop a service model that would fit the funding criteria and ensure no one lost access to services in the short term.

“The Department will over that time consider its future approach for the Busselton region to ensure the best possible services for local communities,” he said.

Five South West centres received funding - two in Bunbury and one each in Manjimup, Northcliffe and Bridgetown.

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