THE first sod has been turned at Anam Cara’s new $22 million hospice facility.
Located on two hectares at Deakin University, the new building will provide support for those with a life-limiting illness and their carers, as well as allowing medical and research training to be completed in collaboration with students.
After lodging plans for a major redevelopment in 2018, Anam Cara’s board chair Diana Taylor was delighted to turn the first sod during the official March 12 event at Waurn Ponds.
“This is a momentous day for not only the hardworking staff, volunteers and supporters at Anam Cara, but also for the region who has a very real and growing need for greater choice in end-of-life care and carer respite,” she said.
“We want to thank the Australian Government, and in particular Senator Sarah Henderson, for the commitment of $5 million to kickstart our vision in 2016.
“We want to also thank the Victorian Government for their recent commitment of $5 million to enable us to commence construction.”
The project has accumulated a further $7 million from community fundraising with a target of $5 million remaining.
“Philanthropic fundraising will continue, including a public campaign in June 2021 to provide the opportunity for the whole of Geelong to help us build the new Anam Cara,” Ms Taylor said.
The unique home-like environment will host 20 beds and provide clinical care from trained palliative care nurses and volunteers while taking the place of the existing four-bed facility.
During Friday’s official event, Senator Henderson said the Morrison Government took the idea and ran with it after being approached by Anam Cara.
“For 18 months it was hard to see what it would look like but now it is clear this is a beautiful place for those with life-limiting illnesses,” she said.
“This is a wonderful health facility to have in our region and an investment into our most precious people.”
Ms Henderson says health and wellbeing is paramount to the Morrison Government, who worked night and day to support this project.
As a part of the collaboration with Deakin University, a Research and Training Agreement has been signed which will allow for ongoing hands-on teaching in partnership with the Faculty of Health, the School of Medicine and Anam Cara House Geelong.
Vice-chancellor Professor Iain Martin said this partnership would improve the experiences of those experiencing life-limiting illnesses.
“The new facility will provide the best care for what is inevitably the hardest journey for any family,” Prof. Martin said.
With Nicholson Construction leading the build, the new hospice facility is anticipated to be completed by the end of 2022.
“The new facility will provide a significant boost to local hospice services, it will also deliver employment opportunities within the trade and healthcare sectors,” Ms Taylor said.