An initiative by the local Lions’ clubs to turn a disused Council cottage into a holiday haven for carers is gaining momentum.
Last week, Gareth Ward MP presented a $40,000 cheque from the State Government for the project, and local businesses have already been donating their expertise and resources.
The house, on Shoalhaven Street, opposite Kiama Bowls Club, is being renovated to provide accommodation for three carers, with ensuites and a shared lounge and kitchen.
Following asbestos removal by P&D Envirotech, the building exterior is soon to be reclad following donations from CSR.
On visiting the property for the first time, Susan Wallace, Chair of Interchange Illawarra, a local not-for-profit organisation supporting people with disabilities and their carers, was ecstatic.
“I feel like hugging and kissing everyone,” she said.
“This is unusual in that it is focusing on the carer. Most holiday accommodation is for a whole family or people with disabilities going on respite.
“This is the other way around, with the person with the disability potentially staying at home with support, and the carer getting to have a holiday.
“There is no other facility like this for carers.
Ms Wallace is keen to use her organisation’s connections across the state to help make the opportunity available to carers who otherwise would not be able to afford a break.
Lions member Tony Grainger has taken on the role as construction project manager, drawing on his experience as area engineer for the South East Sydney Illawarra Health Service. In that position he was responsible for a great number of major renovations.
He is hopeful the Carers’ Cottage will be ready for the end of the year.
“It all depends how much support we can get from local tradespeople,” he says.
“We have had some great support to get this far, but now we are looking at getting some help with electrical, plumbing, tiling, gyprocking and carpentry work – all of those trade skills we really need.
“We are also keen to get offers of help from people who don’t have trade skills but can carry things and hold a paint brush.
“We’ll find everyone something to do.”
Details: Offers of help should be directed to Tony on 0417 139 949