History of Victoria House

The ordinary house on King Street looks like many other houses in the Timaru suburb of Kensington. But inside, things are far from ordinary.

Number 83 King Street is a mental health drop-in activities centre. Inside, staff might be providing one on one support, tutoring crafts, basic computer skills, guitar, art and sewing or simply chatting with a lonely person.

The centre first opened its door 19 years ago 31 August 1991. In the first 12 months a staggering 3376 attendances — well exceeding the expected 1500. After a few years at the original site Victoria Corner (as it was then known) moved to a larger rental property at 29 King Street.

About the Timaru Mental Health Support Trust

The Timaru Mental Health Support Trust is a not for profit Trust formed on the 2nd May 1997 with the purpose of providing support to people recovering from mental illness or addiction in the wider community.  The target group is the top 3% of people with mental illness. Referrals come from the local District Health Board Psychiatric Unit, G.P.’s, Community Agencies and through self-referral.

The initial services provided included Employment Support and activities which were run from the Victoria House (Drop-in centre) at 29 King Street, Timaru.  The need for these services was evident from the beginning and the Trust extended its service to provide community participation.

The Trust obtained the contract for Victoria House on 1 July 2001. Obtaining this contract led to the following expansion and purchase of a property at 83 King Street, Timaru on 23 December 2003.  The building was extended and renovated to cater for the expanding services. The office staff were temporarily housed in the basement area and a new office block was completed at the end of 2008.  The final landscaping and sealing of the carpark was completed in 2009 and the official opening held in May 2009.

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