More patients, including those fighting cancer, will be able to access much-needed affordable accommodation with the opening of 13 new independent living units at Rotary Centenary House, Traralgon.
Federal Member for Gippsland Darren Chester, a long-time supporter and advocate of Gippsland Rotary Centenary House, secured $900,000 from the Federal Government for the extension.
Gippsland Rotary Centenary House supports patients undergoing treatment at Latrobe Regional Hospital and their families, by providing low cost accommodation next door to the hospital site.
“This is the house that love built,” Mr Chester said. “Government funding has been important, but every stage of this project has received funding from Rotary clubs across Gippsland which have worked together to look after the people they love in our community.
“Centenary House not only provides affordable accommodation, it provides a safe place for patients and their families to help each other through challenging times.
“The house was built to commemorate the centenary of Rotary and is managed by a volunteer Committee of Management to support patients from across Gippsland.
“I want to congratulate the Rotarians, staff and volunteers who have worked tirelessly to build and grow Gippsland Rotary Centenary House for the benefit of patients and their families from across East Gippsland, South Gippsland and Wellington shires.”
The house now has 30 twin occupancy rooms with kitchenettes and ensuites. The expansion also includes a new communal area with lounge room, laundry and external decked area.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said construction of the new units supported 25 jobs and helped stimulate the local building industry by using local labour, subcontractors and suppliers.
“The expansion of this important facility, which will create two ongoing jobs, not only boosts paid work but creates future volunteer opportunities for those valuable healthcare workers supporting cancer sufferers and their loved ones,” Mr McCormack said.
Gippsland Rotary Centenary House operations manager Carol Crewe said the facility had seen a five-fold increase in rooms since it first opened its doors in 2006.
“We had six units to begin with, then added another nine in 2012 with stage 2,” Mrs Crewe said. “These 13 new independent living units will make an enormous difference to the lives of many more patients for whom travelling to Traralgon for treatment daily is just too far.
“Enabling them to stay with their families close to the hospital in somewhere affordable lifts a huge financial burden. It also enables patients to be as well-rested as possible while they are undergoing treatment.”
The Federal Government provided $900,000 to the expansion project through the Regional Jobs and Investment Package. Gippsland Rotary Centenary House contributed a further $346,620, Latrobe Regional Hospital $1,000,000 and the Blue Ribbon Foundation $80,000.