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Homes for young people with significant disability set to open soon

20 August 2020 Wesley Mission news

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Ten young people with significant disability will soon experience greater independence and permanence by moving into newly refurbished homes.

Wesley Intensive Therapeutic Care, Significant Disabilities (ITCSD), a program in partnership between Wesley Dalmar and Wesley Disability Services, is giving young people who currently live in hospital or alternative care arrangements and cannot live with their families, homes for life. Our homes will support these young people as they move into adulthood.

Wesley Mission CEO, the Rev Keith V Garner AM acknowledges the importance of this innovative work, saying, “All children deserve a safe, nurturing, home environment but many of the children who will be supported by this program have only ever known a clinical facility. Wesley Mission provides a broad range of community services for this reason, to be able to knit together solutions for complex needs. We cannot wait to welcome these young people to their new homes.”

Two heritage cottages in Carlingford have been refurbished for young people, aged 10-18 who live with significant disability. Construction on these homes began in late March 2020 and is almost complete, with eight young people set to begin moving in next month. On 31 August, one young person will also move into a repurposed home in Chester Hill and another in Marsden Park.

Under the stewardship of Wesley Property, each home has been renovated to support young people with disability such as brain injury, cerebral palsy, vision or hearing impairment and is equipped for wheelchair users. Each bedroom will be tailored to meet the tastes of each young person.

Program Manager, Ray Stacey said, “It's really exciting for me to just envision those young people in their own rooms. They've done a very good job of painting rooms to meet their preferences, whether it’s green, race cars or Toy Story themed”.

“My personal drive is always to meet the young people and work alongside them, and just to bring a smile to their day.”

Here at Wesley Mission, we put people first. And throughout Ray’s recruitment process, the people he serves has been his focus when selecting staff for ITCSD. The staff now employed to work at the Chester Hill and Marsden Park homes have previously cared for these young people.

“A lot of what came out of their interviews was their passion and drive to continue working with the young people that they were currently working with,” Ray explained.

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Ray has recruited over 40 staff to work across the four homes, including therapeutic house managers, therapeutic specialists, registered nurses, enrolled nurses and support workers to care for these young people living in their new homes.

“One of our external providers held a team-building workshop with the team and said, ‘This team is good to go. They are rearing and chomping at the bit’. They are so excited to work with these young people.”

Mr Garner will officially open the homes once their refurbishment is complete. Afterwards, these young people will be transitioned into the homes at different stages to accommodate their needs.

Looking ahead, Ray said there’s potential for ITCSD to expand beyond these four homes to support more young people with disability.

“There are a number of referrals that we're actively receiving and looking at. And, we're working through how we can support those young people.”

“It's going to grow quite quickly. It's great to think that we'll be able to help more people in a short space of time.”