CATA Headquarters (HQ)- Growing Community Connections
In August 2021, CATA Headquarters (HQ) opened its doors and its heart to the local Fairfield community. This has been a wonderful time of change for CATA. After years of primarily focusing on outreach work, having a dedicated physical space within the community has opened up a number of new opportunities for engagement. We have found this incredibly enriching, for both us as an organisation as well as the diverse communities that we work with.
CATA HQ offers a welcoming and innovative space that prides itself on inclusivity, safety, and community connection. We work with a wide array of people, including those living with disability, mental health concerns, and trauma. Although we love our outreach work, we are also loving having participants come into CATA HQ and take part in our Creative Arts Therapy sessions onsite! With plenty of wonderful art materials to explore, clients are given the opportunity to not only express themselves creatively but also work towards their mental health goals and needs. All sessions are person-centered, creative, and aim to foster growth and development. Everyone is welcome and of course, there is always lots of local cafés for a yummy coffee afterward.
We have found that having an HQ base in a local community such as Fairfield, has also had some other wonderful and unexpected perks. Not only has it encouraged people from the local community to come together and partake in individual and group work, but it seems to have become a bit of a ‘hub’ for locals. Certainly, the colourfully attired table outside seems to have taken on a life of its own! It’s so wonderful to see people sitting here, enjoying each other's company and sharing a yarn or two. Some things that people have shared in our community journal:
“The CATA table In Station Street where we are able to sit without judgment, talk nonsense and be friendly with each other and passers-by” (Murray)
“Thanks to the wonderful people who provide this beautiful table” (Mary)
“For the last 2 years, this table, cloth, and seating have allowed me to get thru COVID. I sit and eat, talk & watch the passing parade that Station Street provides. Dogs I have interacted with have educated me as a human BEING... thanks to CATA”. (Robert)
In the past year, growing local community connections has become an important focus for CATA. Shortly, we will be opening up two weekly sessions that invite members of the community to come together and share creatively in an open and inclusive way. Please keep an eye out for our inaugural ‘CATA’s Writing Room’ and ‘CATA’s Open Studio’ space (bookings required). Our placement student Lily also plans to incorporate some fun dance and movement activities into Station Street- whilst sharing important facts about Art Therapy in a psycho-educational way. This looks to be an exciting and vibrant project.
Finally, CATA has been actively working towards creating mutually beneficial partnerships with community organisations. One such partnership has been with Fronditha (a residential aged care facility in Thornbury) to research and develop art therapy programs for aged care participants. If you feel your organisation may align with CATA’s mission and values (and in the spirit of community growth) please feel free to contact us. Our motto is ‘Create, Heal, Thrive.... and Grow’!!