SOUTH-WEST Victoria’s largest respite centre for the disabled has been officially opened in Portland after six years of planning and more than a million dollars in fund-raising.
Ameeyk on Hurd will provide a comfortable temporary home for 90-plus clients serviced by Kyeema Support Services across the region.
Planning for the 35-square building started in 2005, but fund-raising and approvals took several years to finalise.
Chief executive Phil Cole paid tribute to the three previous chief executives involved with progressing the project.
“We appreciate community support through United Way Glenelg, Portland Aluminium, Pacific Hydro and benevolent foundations,” he said.
Mr Cole said Hamilton philanthropists Geoff Handbury and his late wife Helen as well as the late Andrew Jack also made considerable donations.
Premier and South West Coast MP Denis Napthine officially opened Ameeyk last Friday after recalling the time he and his wife were house parents for people with disabilities in Hamilton.
“It gave us a great insight into the importance of these facilities,” he said.
“Respite is essential — it’s about giving a break to parents and carers who have a 24/7 task.
“It’s also great for people with disabilities to have independence in different surroundings — it’s part of their growth, development and confidence.
“This is a great tribute to the Portland community which has always embraced people with disabilities. We should never lose that.”
The respite house, designed by Warrnambool architect Neil Holland, features two high-care bedrooms and two rooms with strobe light smoke detectors for people with hearing impairment.