October 9th 2007
Island respite centre gets nearly $1M funding
Magnetic Island's long wished-for day respite centre is to become a reality after a joint announcement that nearly $1million would be granted to Magnetic Island Community Care (MICC) to purchase or construct a building for a purpose-built respite care centre.
Minister for Communities and Disability Services Lindy Nelson-Carr said Magnetic Island Community Care would receive $950,000 from the Home and Community Care (HACC) program which is funded jointly by the State and Federal Governments.
Member for Townsville Mike Reynolds had been urging that a high priority be given to the centre becoming a reality and he welcomed the funding approval.
"To put it simply this is absolutely great news.
"Magnetic Island Community Care provides much-needed support for residents to enable them to continue living independently on the island and now that the organisation is guaranteed of its own premises, its future viability is assured," Mr Reynolds said.
A clearly excited Mr Phil Landon, MICC's President said, "We are absolutely delighted!"
"The hard work that Mike Reynolds and Lindy Nelson Carr have put in on this is really very good. They are the ones who have responded to the community's pleas."
Phil Landon told Magnetic Times that the application MICC had put to HACC had earmarked a property, the former Magnetic Touch shop and private residence, on Sooning Street in Nelly Bay.
"We can now insure a continuity of service which we didn't have before due to tenure."
The Community Care organisation has leased several spaces over the years but they have been relatively small with much of the office work and equipment storage ending up in private homes.
"We could never plan into the future but now there is a hell of a lot more we can do.
"A big hall is not the answer. You need discrete spaces where separate activities can take place. The building gives us the flexibility to provide all the services we need for various groups as well as individual rooms for first aide or sick clients. There will be room for visiting specialists as well as various recreational spaces," said Phil Landon.
"I'm walking on cloud nine" said Co-ordinator, Brenda MCCowen, who has been running the organisation since 1998, when we contacted her. She had just heard the news and was buying champagne to celebrate whilst taking the MICC Tuesday Club on a Mystery Bus Tour about Cairns.
"I'm very excited. I've been plotting out where what will go into each room and everyone here with me is going to celebrate tonight." said Brenda who has been fighting for the respite centre funding for seven years.
"Our numbers have been increasing greatly and we were really in dire straits. So this is great!" she said.
Brenda was also keen to thank the patience of Kay and Mal Colewell who presently own the property. "Kay has been very good to us trying everything she could until we got the funding. It is how she wanted to see it (Kay's former home and shop) used."
The service currently provides centre-based day care for 44 clients, meals for 19 clients, respite care for 7 clients, social support to 26 clients and counselling, information and advocacy to 15 clients.
Phil Landon was also impressed that the building has a kitchen and a large swimming pool which could be used for hydrotherapy. "There will be space for a Co-ordinator's Office and Administration and another space for computer instruction and the building wont require much work - perhaps a couple of ramps."
Ms Nelson-Carr said their had been concern for some time over accommodation for the service in the long-term due to heightened development activity on Magnetic Island, and she was very pleased the issue could now be resolved.
MICC began in 1998 and currently employs seven and runs three vehicles.
"In total, an additional $14.8 million in one-off HACC funding has been made available across Queensland, with a particular focus on major infrastructure, transport and allied health equipment," Ms Nelson-Carr said.
Story & photo: George Hirst
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