CAMPAIGNERS to save Sea View House in Portland are celebrating after a breakthrough to keep the supported residential care service open.
Supporters for the service reached the decision with Portland District Health (PDH) on Tuesday night to take over management of the building early next year.
PDH will hand over keys to the building to Friends of Sea View House on January 24.
The service, which is not classed as a nursing home, functions as a residential care centre for retirees.
The fight to save Sea View House has spanned more than two years but came to a head in January this year when PDH announced plans to close the service after a report cast doubts on its future viability.
PDH threw its in-principle support behind a business plan put forward by the community group to operate the service. Despite 20 residents living in the building at the beginning of this year, only five now remain.
This week those residents were told their fight to stay on at Sea View House had been successful.
Friends of Sea View House steering committee chairwoman Myra Bourke described the decision as a huge win for the group.
“I’m quite certain that everyone will be overjoyed,” Ms Bourke told The Standard.
“The five residents in Sea View House are very relieved.”
However, the committee must now raise $300,000 in start-up working capital to keep the business viable.
“My catchcry has been that if 300 people pay $1000 then we can do it,” Ms Bourke said. At least 90 per cent of the 58 rooms will also need to be filled over the coming year for the doors to stay open.
Ms Bourke said 10 people had already expressed interest at moving in.
Previous reports had suggested residents would need to pay nearly $800 a week but Ms Bourke said room charges would now sit between $400 and $600 a week.
PDH acting director Ros Jones said the board of management reviewed the business plan put forward by the steering committee and was happy for the plan to move forward.
“I think after a long road and a lot of hard work by members of the Portland community it’s a good outcome,” Ms Jones said.
She said the Friends of Sea View House would need to enter into a lease agreement with PDH for the building and gain registration through the Victorian Department of Health before January.
“There’s a lot of work to do between now and then,” she said.