All homely comforts and support

Lockhart Valmar Support Services Ltd disability coordinator Megan McKenzie at the newly refurbished group home. Photo: Claire Williams.

Lockhart residents have donated items to give a homely touch to a converted doctor’s office in the town for people with disabilities.

Lockhart Valmar Support Services Disability Coordinator, Megan McKenzie is pleased with the implementation of Lockhart’s Independent Living Group Home.

The home has two clients living there two nights a week, which is considered part time accommodation. The building, a former doctor’s office, has been newly renovated and local businesses and individuals have kindly donated items for the house.

“Members of the community have donated bits and pieces, which has made the place homely,” Mrs McKenzie said.

The home has the facilities to potentially house three full time tenants and one respite client. Previously, the Disability Coordinator role was combined with the Aged Care Coordinator role in Lockhart.

“I started the position at the end of January this year and I am thrilled to be a part of this project,” Mrs McKenzie said.

The viability of an Independent Living Facility in Lockhart was assessed by Valmar Support Services and the Lockhart staff gauged the interest of their local clients.

“Our two clients are both so excited about the home,” Mrs McKenzie said.

Valmar Support Services CEO Hugh Packard is positive about the project.

“A service of this type in Lockhart would have been almost impossible to establish prior to the roll out of the NDIS which is the program that provides the individualised funding for the support for each of the residents,” Mr Packard said.

She is conducting various assessments and implementing procedures in order to move the group home toward full time accommodation for the clients.

The staffing requirements of the facility will be based on the needs of the clients. Once established, staff will provide support and teach clients some skills around the home, such as, meal preparation, washing and budget management.

Valmar Support Service’s head office is based in Tumut where the organisation manages 12 group homes of varying capacities in south east NSW and ACT.

Mrs McKenzie has toured the established homes and is under guidance of a manager experienced in setting up the programs.

There has already been discussions of community members pitching in to help build and establish a garden and a veggie patch for the home.

“This is a great thing for the town and knowing the Lockhart community, they will all get behind the project and support it completely,”
Mrs McKenzie said.

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