PORTLAND’S Rotary community has set a new benchmark in community donations to the long-awaited Warrnambool Rotary House project by handing over $250,000 from a bequest.
It was the fulfilment of a wish by late Portland identity Andrew Jack who had pinpointed Rotary House as a key recipient in the distribution of his wealth.
Two $125,000 cheques were officially handed over by Portland Rotary Club and Portland Bay Rotary Club on Monday night — coincidently the same day building works started at the Timor Street site.
Mr Jack had been a member of Portland Rotary Club since 1978 and also left donations to other local community causes.
“Andrew had a great community spirit and an affinity with anything that would help others,” club president Steve Ellis told The Standard.
“Rotary House will provide a much-needed service for people in our region.
“I would say it would be the largest single donation from Portland Rotarians, certainly in recent years.
“Both our clubs, along with other Rotarians throughout the south-west, have been going hammer and tongs to help out.”
Rotary House committee chairman Andrew Suggett, of Warrnambool, said it was a fantastic gesture by the late Mr Jack and his Rotary friends.
“The donation will be recognised with a plaque at the new building,” he said.
“It puts us very close to achieving our $1.6 million target which includes a fair bit of in-kind support.
“The whole region has been working hard to support this.
“After many delays we have finally been able to get under way with the builder on site this week and it is expected to be completed early next year.”
The federal government provided a huge confidence booster to fund-raisers with $500,000 in May last year and municipal councils also chipped in along with other community efforts. Rotary House will provide 12 living quarters with communal laundry, kitchen and dining room at low-cost for families and carers of patients from south-west Victoria who need to travel to Warrnambool for medical treatment.
It will be opposite Warrnambool Base Hospital.