History

The Beginning

Step Ahead’s history began in 1983 as a pilot project that was initiated and originally supported by the Schizophrenia Fellowship. The project was established as an activities-based programme, with the original premises in the Christchurch Arts Centre. The mission, philosophy and goals of Step Ahead were formalised as membership started to increase . In 1986 Step Ahead became an independent organisation.

Growth, Development

Step Ahead continued to evolve and grow throughout the 1990s. In 1992, the organisation became a Charitable Trust and the Board of Trustees became an elected body. In 1993, Step Ahead was able to purchase and move in to its premises at 167 Stanmore Road. Members were able to apply for positions on the staff and continue to do so successfully. By 1996 there were 180 members.

Expanding

Due to a need for increased services, a Rural Programme was established in Kaiapoi in March 2000 and the initial part time West Programme in 2002. In 2010 a full time service on the West side of Christchurch began in collaboration with Comcare Trust who provide employment support. Membership reached 280 during this time, and staff 19.

Post-quake – Ongoing Growth

The Canterbury earthquakes in September 2010, February 2011 and June 2011 caused significant cosmetic damage to the Stanmore Road building.. Despite these events, Step Ahead was able to continue support members, providing consistency and encouragement during these challenging times. Repairs to the earthquake-damaged Stanmore Road building were completed in 2012. Membership numbers have now grown to between 300 and 320 across all bases.
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Keep up the good work, consumer driven organisations are always empowering to clients.
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Referrer , Canterbury
Step Ahead is a wonderful asset in Christchurch for people with a mental illness. You do great work!
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Family member , Christchurch
I believe if people start attending from hospital, they are more likely to engage once living in the community. Keep keeping on!
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Clinician , Christchurch
I know my sister really enjoys and looks forward to the ski day every year, and some trips/day outings . . . She also appreciates the newsletter every month, and I know that gives her a boost . . . thank you for your hard work and support.
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Family Member , Christchurch
Over the time as I see consumers grow and become more confident, I am amazed. The groups, activities and support given is well received by consumers, and family/whanau. You hold a valuable service, keep challenging.
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Referrer , Canterbury
Step Ahead has been very useful for our family member. It has given her strength and confidence to attempt things she would never have done in the past. She is meeting a lot of people with similar problems to her, and they can face new challenges together and help one another by talking about it.
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Family Member , Christchurch
I think you have a great organisation. My son has greatly benefited from all the activities he has been involved in and I’d like to thank you for the great job you are doing. May you keep going for a long time, you have really helped him in his life.
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Family member , Christchurch
Always had positive feedback from clients, very well presented and an enjoyable monthly newsletter.
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Clinician , Canterbury
Your service is excellent, keep up the good work. Being able to engage people into Step Ahead prior to discharge is very useful from our perspective, for the person, and focusses them on the community, not extending the inpatient stay.
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Clinician , Christchurch
I have nothing but praise for Step Ahead . . . The clients I have worked with regarding issues have been treated fairly, with respect and dignity.
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Clinician , Christchurch