Looking back at 40 years of Holyoake

In the early seventies, problem drinking was generally treated as a disease; the advice was to “detox, sober up, and pull up your socks”. John Keating was determined to find a better way. While studying on a Churchill Fellowship in the USA, he learnt new ways to address problem drinking.

John established Holyoake in 1975 with his friend Anita Day. The purpose was to offer more holistic, non-judgemental services to people affected by alcohol and drugs, and to support their families as well.

From the very outset, the Holyoake approach achieved excellent outcomes. This positive approach was welcomed by clients as well as the community sector. The very next year, Holyoake received the Jaycee Award for Better Communities 1976. John then played a key role in setting up the WA Network of Alcohol and Drug Agencies (WANADA), assisted in the founding of Cyrenian House, and was elected President of the Alcohol and Drug Council of Australia.

Forty years on, that bold vision has stood the test of time, and has expanded more than the founders could have imagined. Thousands of people have experienced the benefits of Holyoake’s positive approach in a safe, confidential and caring environment.

Holyoake now operates through our main office in Victoria Park. We also manage the North East Metro Community Alcohol & Drug Service in Midland, and the Wheatbelt Community Alcohol & Drug Service in Northam, Narrogin, and Merredin. In addition, our affiliates in New South Wales, Tasmania and the Northern Territory offer Holyoake counselling programs under licence.

The future looks bright for Holyoake as the community sector faces the challenges of economic uncertainty, changing funding models, consumer directed care, mergers, and more. Our strategic plan is clearly focused on our purpose to bring lasting change while ensuring our long-term financial sustainability.

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