In 1998 when Karen Bartlett was working as a Family Support Worker she came in contact with a young lady suffering from AOD addiction. After spending 6 months in a therapeutic community she left; the Department of corrections suggested that the young lady finish her time residing with Karen. During the next 12 months as they took on the role of carer Karen & John were shown a different side of life through the eyes of their young friend. This lead to more young people coming to live with them and in July 1999 Karen & John resigned from their jobs and opened their doors, Fresh Hope was born.
In the beginning Fresh Hope, both males and females with AOD addiction were accepted, however within four months of starting a specific target group was identified which Karen’s heart was drawn too, that of mothers with children. Not only had Karen and John found their niche they had also discovered a massive gap in service provision in the AOD Sector. Fresh Hope become, and still is, the only rehabilitation centre in Queensland that keeps mothers and children together through the rehabilitation process, allowing the mother to overcome her addiction as well as learn how to parent her children in a safe environment.
Fresh Hope has been a faith based ministry from the beginning and the first items that John & Karen had faith for was a horse and a bus. Since those humble beginnings Fresh Hope has grown.
Fresh Hope began operation in a rented three bedroom home on the Darling Downs and in 2003 the organisation purchased a 6.5 Acre Property with a five bedroom home. With overwhelming financial support of the local community and supporters the mortgage was paid off within twelve months.
Since 2003 a further five buildings have been added to the property. Four houses for staff and a cottage for residents preparing to graduate from the program.The second five bedroom home became the second residential home for some time but due to limited funding and demand on staff it has become used for staff .
Also in 2003 Fresh Hope became a member of the Australasian Therapeutic Communities Association. The Membership has enabled John & Karen and staff the ability to attend Professional Development workshops at their Annual national Conferences as well as network and visit other Therapeutic Communities.
John & Karen worked full time for nine years with no personal income taken from Fresh Hope. In 2008 Fresh Hope received some funding from the Federal Government to cover some of the cost of wages for the staff that had previously been volunteers.
The Fresh Hope program and the work of John & Karen has been recognized and commended with the following achievements:
- 2008 Suncorp Community Spirit Award – Karen Bartlett
- 2008 Toowoomba Business Excellence award – community category winner – Fresh Hope
- 2007 Significant Contribution to a Therapeutic Community by an Individual. Karen Bartlett
- 2007 Suncorp Queenslander of the Year Finalist – Karen Bartlett
- 2006 Suncorp Community Spirit Award Finalist – Karen Bartlett
- 2005 Pride of Australia Medal Finalist – Community Spirit – Karen Bartlett
- 2003 Chronicle Volunteer of the Year Award – Karen Bartlett
As a Therapeutic community Fresh Hope is at the forefront of Therapeutic work here in Queensland that supports mothers with their Drug and Alcohol issues. Fresh Hope is a live-in Therapeutic Rehabilitation home with a program that goes for 12-18 months. The Fresh Hope program is open to any mother with a Drug or Alcohol problem who can bring their children to live with them. We have no minimum age or maximum age limit.