Whittlesea’s long-awaited adult respite centre has opened its doors.
The South Morang centre opened earlier this month, bringing a close to a five-year campaign for an adult respite service in Whittlesea led by the council, Whittlesea Disability Network and local advocate group Respite Alliance Whittlesea (RAW).
The centre is Whittlesea’s third respite facility, but the first to cater for adults.
The new centre, which will be named Carroll House after lead campaigner Trevor Carroll, includes six beds.
Mayor Kris Pavlidis said a 2016 council survey found that 26 per cent of residents surveyed had a permanent or long-term disability or medical condition.
Cr Pavlidis said there were 18,388 people who provided unpaid care to a person with a disability, long-term illness or older age.
“The opening of this facility is a clear commitment that the state government has recognised our need for more respite support in the community,” she said.
“It is important we look after our carers and people with disabilities to help them live independent lives and to help families stay together.
“Providing local residential respite is one action we can take in the right direction.
“Now even more of our residents can be supported in their own communities instead of needing to leave the local area.”
Mr Carroll said he was “thrilled” the centre had finally opened.
“Too many families have had to make the heartbreaking decision to relinquish their sons and daughters into state care because this facility didn’t exist,” he said.
“Now we have the most modern, state-of-the-art adult respite facility in Victoria and I am just so humbled to have it named in my honour; but it is also a tribute to all RAW members and their families.”