Keith’s Closet helps hundreds of vulnerable clients at Kiloh Centre
Since officially opening in January this year, Keith’s Closet – the brainchild of Keith Donnelly, Clinical Nurse Specialist and Community Mental Health Case Manager at Prince of Wales Hospital – has helped clothe and accessorise more than 200 vulnerable clients at the Kiloh Centre.
In what has been described as a “wonderful initiative” by NSW Health’s Chief Nurse Jacqui Cross, thanks to the efforts of Kiloh Centre staff and Keith Donnelly (pictured), clients have access to free clothing, shoes, handbags, belts and toiletries donated by Prince of Wales Hospital staff and the community.
“The one thing that always struck me was our vulnerable clients’ lack of self-care, dignity and purpose. A lot of our mental health patients have insufficient clothing so my purpose was to change that by transforming our seclusion room into a walk-in wardrobe complete with a fitting room in a very relaxed environment,” Mr Donnelly said.
The venture has proved to be such a success that on a recent trip back to Ireland Keith Donnelly was interviewed about Keith’s Closet on two radio stations in Dublin and featured in an article in the national newspaper, The Irish Daily Star.
“I discussed how the idea came about, how it became a reality, the positive effects it has had on our clients and the plan going forward – to expand to other health services in Australia and introduce the concept to mental health services in Ireland,” Mr Donnelly said.
After the radio interviews Mr Donnelly was invited to speak to a class of more than 90 pre-nursing students at Dun Laoghaire Further Education Institute, which he said was met with a lot of interest.
“This is an exciting time and I look forward to seeing Keith’s Closet grow because in my opinion every mental health facility needs one.
“It’s also really important to acknowledge the fact that Keith’s Closet would not be the success it is without the amazing support of our volunteers who kindly give up their time two days a week to help sort the clothing and make sure there’s plenty of stock available, nicely displayed in the closet.”
Keith Donnelly is currently working towards his fundraising goal of $10,000 as part of the Prince of Wales Hospital Foundation’s Global Charity TV Project, the money raised will go towards expanding the initiative across the health district and beyond.