By Billy Spencer
An arts space/ café/ mentoring program for people who have become isolated from society is being planned for Cranbourne.
CEO of Life! Central Ministries, Pastor Drew Gormlie, is working closely with Casey Council and others to bring L’Arte Centrale Social Enterprise to life.
The enterprise aims to support people with any kind of mental health issue that has lead to social isolation.
About 45 per cent of people will experience anxiety, depression or substance abuse in their lives, according to SANE Australia.
Pastor Gormlie says the project will be not just an art gallery or café, but a hub for the community.
“We found out that there was an initiative run by Anthony Cheeseman [MadCap Café], which was a mental health employment reintegration initiative,” he said.
Mr Cheeseman established MadCap café in 2007 before selling it to the Eastern Regions Mental Health Association. It focused on giving hospitality training to people with mental disabilities. In 2013 it partnered with Masters Home Improvement and has since gone out of business along with Masters.
“I’ve got another colleague [Michelle Sanders], who is currently doing a second PhD.” Pastor Gormlie said. “It’s a way of using art to articulate what you’re going through.”
Ms Sanders runs Art & Soul, a program using art classes to combat anxiety and depression.
“I started to get this idea of bringing those two things together,” Pastor Gormlie said. “What we’re looking at doing is using similar principles to MadCap café … developing the mentoring elements of it a lot more … then including both the gallery aspects of the painting and the therapeutic aspects.”
Gormlie, Cheeseman and Sanders presented their joint proposal to Casey Council in April.
Cr Amanda Stapledon is one of the major supporters of L’Arte Centrale within the Casey Council chambers.
“I think this could be a great opportunity,” she said during a September council meeting.
According to the agenda for the meeting, the ideal location for the project is the Old Shire Offices in central Cranbourne. However, Gormlie and other will have to negotiate with a family counselling service who has recently been awarded a short-term lease for the venue.
“Location is the big issue right now,” Cr Stapledon said. “Without it, you can’t secure funding.”
Pastor Gormlie is remaining optimistic. “We’re pretty confident, because both the Art & Soul element and the MadCap element… have in the past worked quite well,” he said.