Challenge to employers to bring Headspace here early

CHESS CEO Paul Kelly and Headspace Coffs Harbour manager Shelley Rowe are working on a campaign to bring the youth mental health program Headspace to Grafton earlier than planned.
CHESS CEO Paul Kelly and Headspace Coffs Harbour manager Shelley Rowe are working on a campaign to bring the youth mental health program Headspace to Grafton earlier than planned. Tim Howard

THE CLARENCE Valley can have a cut down version of the vital youth mental health service Headspace here in the next week or two if local businesses can rise to a challenge.

CHESS CEO Paul Kelly has promised to donate $500 for every client of his firm placed with a local employer to funding Headspace in Grafton.

Mr Kelly has kicked off a campaign, Jobs Change Lives, aimed to fund a one-day-a-week outreach program in Grafton, while the authorities worked out how to bring the full service here.

"We can have it here in the next week or two,” Mr Kelly said.

CHESS has been working with the Coffs Harbour Headspace on the campaign.

He calculates the campaign will need $10,000 to fund the interim service while the local health services develop a full service.

"That's basically 20 people finding a job to get Headspace started here,” he said.

The manager of Headspace Coffs Harbour, Shelley Rowe, said the money would allow her organisation to bring the same service offered in Coffs Harbour to Grafton one day a week.

"Headspace is all about bringing services closer to young people, rather than having people travel to the services,” Ms Rowe said.

"The great thing it is allows individuals and businesses to do something for the wellbeing of the community.

"As well they will have given people jobs, which also contributes to the well being of the community, so it's a dual gain.”

Mr Kelly said potential employers will also gain generous wage assistance, giving businesses incentives to take on employees in areas they might not have considered before.

Mr Kelly said he would be happy to discuss ideas with businesses where they could use a new employee.

"I would encourage businesses to look at roles in the business for an employee to free up the owner of the business to work on his business, rather than it,” Mr Kelly said.

"They don't have to be full time jobs,” he said. "We're quite happy consider part time work.”

He said CHESS would also provide a free room at its office in Prince St, Grafton, for the interim service to use as a consultation room for its clients.

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