Accommodation choices for residents with a disability living in the Shire are set to be boosted following the announcement of grant funding from the NSW State Government and Wingecarribee Shire Council.
As part of the NSW Restart Illawarra Infrastructure Fund, the State Government has pledged $900,000 towards the construction of assisted accommodation for people living with a disability.
Council has donated an additional $398,000 plus the land towards the construction of the Mittagong-based Challenge Southern Highlands facility.
Member for Wollondilly, Jai Rowell MP said Challenge House would be a welcome facility for locals living with a disability.
“The idea behind Challenge House is to provide adults living with a disability with accommodation options beyond the home of their parents,” he said. “For some tenants this facility will provide the perfect opportunity for them to make that transition to independence.”
“This is without doubt one of the most positive and inspirational community-based projects I’ve had the pleasure to be involved in.”
Wingecarribee Shire Mayor Councillor Duncan Gair echoed Mr Rowells’ sentiments.
“All parents naturally want what’s best for their children,” the Mayor said.
“This facility will help our adult residents with a disability make that step to independent living during the lifetime of their parents.
“Parents of adult children with a disability can rest that little bit easier knowing their children will learn the skills to live independently in a safe and secure environment.”
“Former Councillor Nick Campbell-Jones pushed for a facility like this almost a decade ago and today we’re one step closer to fulfilling this vision,” Councillor Gair added.
“Challenge Southern Highlands do a fantastic job operating the Welby Garden Centre and are to be commended for this fantastic community initiative.”
Challenge Southern Highlands General Manager Tony McElhinney explained the principle behind the community-based charity.
“Our purpose is to assist people with disabilities develop skills to enable them to be gainfully employed and reach their full potential,” he said.
“We recognised a need for long-term independent accommodation options for adults with a disability and believe this project complements our existing employment opportunities,” Mr McElhinney said.
Once completed Challenge House will accommodate ten studio style rooms with ensuite and tea-making facilities. A communal kitchen, dining area, lounge and breakout room will also be built as part of the facility. A Caretaker will also reside onsite.
“Residents will be taught how to cook, clean and live outside of the safety net of their parents supervision,” Mr McElhinney said.
“On completion Challenge House will be a purpose-built modern and practical accommodation option for people with disability to live independently.”
While the dual grant monies will cover the estimated $1.2 million construction costs, funds are still sought for ancillary costs.
“We still need to cover the costs of some incidental costs,” Mr McElhinney added. “This includes landscaping, floor coverings and furnishings, furniture and appliances and cookware, glassware and crockery.”
“We’d love to hear from anyone who could assist us with any of these items.”
Challenge House will be located on the corner of Cook and Anne Streets, Mittagong with the project expected to be completed in late 2016.
A briefing on the project and photo opportunity with the Member for Wollondilly, Jai Rowell MP, Wingecarribee Shire Mayor Duncan Gair and representatives from Challenge Southern Highlands will take place onsite at 9.30am this Friday 11 September.
For more information about Challenge Southern Highlands including Challenge House visit www.challengesh.org.au or contact 4872 6603.