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The Hope Centre has opened its doors to its first staff members and clients.

The 3000 square metre residential drug and alcohol rehabilitation centre at Lucknow was due to be officially opened this week, but the event was rescheduled due to restrictions on gatherings.

Federal Member for Gippsland Darren Chester, who secured $3.8 million from the Federal Government for the centre, this week paid tribute to everyone involved.

“Board chairman Peter Down, his wife Margaret and project patron Richard Rijs have been part of a remarkable team of locals and garnered the support of decision makers who could help them realise their goal,” Mr Chester said.

“As the project neared completion over the past few months, their dedication and commitment continued, despite some being personally impacted by the bushfires.

“They have finally realised their dream of providing hope to people with addiction issues and to their families and friends, who love them and want to help them.

“This centre will save lives. It will bring hope to many families in Gippsland with a loved one struggling with addiction.

“The Hope Centre will provide a much-needed and vital service to our community by providing rehabilitation services to those affected by drug and alcohol addiction.

“The centre has now been handed over to Odyssey House Victoria. I feel privileged to have watched and supported Peter, Marg, Richard and their team achieve something truly remarkable.”

While the main building is already in use, there is still some ancillary work to be done outside, including fencing and finishing off the landscaping.

Earthworks began at the Lucknow site in 2018, with construction beginning at the start of 2019. Bairnsdale’s Brooker Builders constructed the main building.

“This project has also supported local jobs, with our traders and suppliers also involved during the construction phase. As the centre becomes fully operational, there will be new opportunities for local suppliers, traders and services,” Mr Chester said.

“I look forward to the time when everyone involved in this project can gather together and celebrate this remarkable achievement.”


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