History of Clubhouse Europe

The origins of the Clubhouse Europe (in years 2007-2012 the European Partnership for Clubhouse Development, EPCD) are in a memorandum of understanding between the ICCD and the Finnish state agency National Research and Development Centre for Welfare and Health (STAKES) agreed in 2005. This realised under leadership of Esko Hänninen, then an ICCD Board member and member of the EPCD provisional board. Valuable financial and personnel support and direction was provided by STAKES (since 2009 the National Institute for Health and Welfare or THL).

In January 2007, a European Coalition was formed at a meeting in Taastrup, Denmark, with representatives from seven European Clubhouses and three national Coalitions. At a follow up meeting in March 2007 in Stockholm, Sweden, a formal agreement to establish the EPCD network was reached and signed for further action. The first objective was to organise ten Clubhouses from seven countries in Europe to obtain EU funding in respect of the Lifelong Learning/Grundtvig programme under the EU, referred to as ELECT. This application based on the fact that the Clubhouse is a learning community was successful and the work started in autumn 2007 and was completed in 2009.

More information online about ELECT Project.eu

In 2010, five European Clubhouses participated in a second round of projects under the Lifelong Learning/Grundtvig programme, known as Empowering Adults with Mental Illness for Learning and Social Inclusion, or EMPAD, with the leadership and support of THL and participation by the ICCD. The objective of the EMPAD project was to create a new training program for adult education staff and other professionals working with people with mental illness. The EMPAD training courses gave orientation to community-based rehabilitation (CBR) services and especially to the Clubhouse model, which emphasizes the recovery orientation, learning opportunities and labour market integration and social inclusion of people with mental illness. One of main deliverables was the report “Choices for recovery: community-based rehabilitation and the Clubhouse model as means to mental health reforms” written by Esko Hänninen.

More information about EMPAD and the report “Choices for recovery

These developments have resulted in a strong foundation of personal relationships as well as learning from and adopting best practices across Clubhouses in Europe and around the world. The participants decided that a more formal European structure was needed for Clubhouses to grow and to flourish throughout Europe while keeping a close working relationship with the ICCD.

In Stockholm in March 2007, it was agreed that the goals of EPCD would be:

  • To improve the social inclusion, educational and labour market integration of people with mental health problems in Europe.
  • To increase opportunities of mental health service users and ex-users in European Countries to participate in empowering and supportive Clubhouse communities.
  • To strengthen and expand the ICCD’s network and operations with European Clubhouses and other stakeholders of Clubhouse development in Europe.
  • To promote and coordinate the European research of the ICCD Clubhouse Model and collect the results of the research for international dissemination.

It was agreed that we would do this by:

  • Ensuring that Clubhouse members are at the heart of all activity.
  • Supporting and sustaining existing Clubhouses.
  • Supporting the individual Clubhouses and coalitions in Europe to meet and help each other.
  • Raising awareness of the Clubhouse model for people with mental disorders across Europe.
  • Increasing the number of CI Accredited Clubhouses throughout Europe.
  • Promoting the European research of the Clubhouse model.
  • Influencing governments and the EU to support and promote the model.
  • Creating partnerships and participating in relevant networks within Europe.
  • Fundraising, especially on a European scale.
  • Accessing training for key Clubhouse Europe leaders in marketing and advocacy.
  • Developing and maintain a web site and a marketing and communication strategy.
  • Being the main partner for CI as it concerns activities in Europe.

At the 11th European Clubhouse Conference held in November 2010 in Linz Austria, Finn Mortensen, former chair of CI and chair of the Danish Clubhouse Coalition proposed the following action plan for Clubhouse Europe:

  • Establish the legal status and write the Statutes.
  • Adopt a budget and a working program.
  • Build up a team of volunteers.
  • Appoint individuals and working groups for specific important work.
  • Establish an office.
  • Distribute plans, policies, budget, working program and legal documents to EPCD members for review and comment before voting at the next membership meeting.
  • Prepare for the next membership meeting and nominate the permanent board.

The participants at the Linz Conference supported these proposals with enthusiasm and the members of the Provisional Board of the EPCD and the Secretariat were approved.

At the 16th International Clubhouse Seminar in Stockholm, Sweden, on July 9th 2011 the attendees approved the Statutes of the EPCD for the official registration as a European non-governmental organisation according to laws in Denmark.

Since beginning of 2013 the EPCD changed its name to the Clubhouse Europe, following the example of similar change of the ICCD to the Clubhouse International.