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October 9th 2007
Island respite centre gets nearly $1M funding

New Respite Centre property 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

To add your comment, see below

Island respite centre gets nearly $1M funding
October 9th 2007
Fantastic - so good to see our older residents and their carers being considered. Next step is a permanent 'retirement village'??
October 9th 2007
Well done Brenda & Phil, you've fought long & hard for this.
Magaret & Robert
October 9th 2007
Congratulations with this Marvelouse acheivment with a Ideal Premisses and Location for the MICC
Thank you for all your hard work Brenda McGowen, Phil Langdon, Mike Reynolds, Lindy Nelson Carr and all your back room Staff and suporters.
Anne C
October 9th 2007
This is great news - a long awaited for permanent place. I know you will make good use of it. Well done
Wendy Tubman
October 10th 2007
I'll add my congratulations to everyone involved with this great step forward for the Island - and a special salute to Brenda who has held MICC together in a very practical sense almost(?) since it started. How about calling one of the rooms in the new centre, 'The McGowen Room'?
October 10th 2007
As one of those who may well be needing a respite centre in a few years' time, I greet this news with joy and no little relief!
MICC has done a marvellous job out of rented accomodation which was not totally suited to their purposes; the acquiring of their own premises may well make the difference for many of us who are getting older and creakier as the years roll by between being able to stay on the Island we love, and having to return to the Big Island to get the support services we will need.

Now: supported accomodation for those of us who are no longer able to live on our own?
Brenda McCowen
October 28th 2007
HI and thanks for all the well wishes. Nice to recognise some old friends there. All very excited and everything moving forward nicely at the moment. Once we are all installed,make sure you all pop in and visit whenever possible. Regards from all the hard working team here!!

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