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UBC Theses and Dissertations

A "White Cross" Social Centre; an evaluative review of the Canadian Mental Health Association Social Centre in Vancouver, British Columbia, its origins and operation, 1959-1960 Jones, Helen Margaret

Abstract

In 1956 plans were begun for the establishment of a Social Centre sponsored by the Canadian Mental Health Association in Vancouver, B.C. as a special resource for former patients of mental hospitals. It was opened in 1959. This thesis makes an appraisal of the Social Centre, the relevance of its initial planning, and the quality of its first year of operation. Such a Social Centre is significant in social work because it demonstrates contributions from groupwork, casework and community organization while the setting is new enough to invite further experiment. This survey employs the following techniques: the study of records; interviews with staff members, volunteers, and workers in related fields; and comprehensive interviews with a selected group of Social Centre members. This study (a) confirms that careful preliminary planning, based on a study of needs, resources, and on evaluations of similar projects in other cities, substantially aided the experiment in achieving its aims. It is evident (b) that a professionally-trained social worker, with a knowledge of groupwork techniques and a knowledge of resources in the community was of value in setting up this service; and finally, (c) that the members themselves, given encouragement, can take much of the responsibility for the operation of the Centre. Continuing needs include (a) a broadening of membership to other categories than the present ones, (b) more centres to serve other districts, and (c) the co-operation of such allied agencies as neighborhood houses, "Y's", etc.

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