30 memories for 30 years: an exhibition to mark a milestone

November 12, 2020

A digital photographic exhibition has been launched to mark the 30th anniversary of one of the Haymarket Foundation’s flagship programs.

The Bourke Street Program began in November 1990, housing and working intensively with five men who had alcohol and other drug issues. The home they lived in was on Bourke Street, East Sydney.

Since then, the number of premises has expanded to six and 23 men can be accepted into the program at any one time.

The nine-month living skills program is open to men who have been sober for 30 days or longer. Typically, people are referred to the service after completing a residential rehabilitation program, but they have yet to re-establish their lives.

The program involves group therapy, one-on-one counselling, living skills, career development and support reconnecting with friends and family.

The Haymarket Foundation’s Chair and long-standing Board member, Kevin Rozzoli, has seen the evolution of the Program.

The NSW Government approached the Haymarket in the 1980s to run a place for people to stay when they were intoxicated in Sydney’s CBD.

“After several years of operation, it was identified that some of the ‘regulars’ were getting drunk to gain access to ‘bed and breakfast’, so it was decided to set aside ten beds for these people for a small charge,” he says.

When the evidence proved it helped stabilise their alcohol and other drug issues, the Minister for Housing granted the first property in 1990.

“This experiment was the first of its kind in Australia and, while not always successful, did achieve an admirable level of success,” he says. “It’s really gratifying to have seen it continue over the years.”

Current and former staff, clients and partner organisations are amongst those to have sent messages of congratulations. These include Amélie Housing, OzHarvest, Gift of Bread and the Network of Alcohol and other Drugs Agencies (NADA).

“They showed me the tools of how to live again,” says one former client, who is now a drug and alcohol counsellor. “I think it was the perfect environment for me.”

See the slideshow below with 30 tributes.

The Program is funded by the South Eastern Sydney Local Health District