Barellan has been working tirelessly for nearly ten years to create a supportive and positive environment for older people in the community.
After fundraising, grants, donations and a huge amount of generosity from the wider community, Barellan’s aged care units will be officially opened by the Member for Farrer Sussan Ley on Wednesday February 21.
“I’ve been with it since day one,” said secretary of the Barellan Aged Care Support Committee Sandra Vicary.
“I think the people of Barellan never thought this day would come.”
The official opening will mean that people are free to have a look at what their hard work has produced.
“Anyone in Barellan is welcome to come,” Mrs Vicary said.
“If you’ve done anything to help us, we thank you.”
The Barellan community has been proposing a solution to aged care in the town since 2009, when a meeting was held to establish a proposal for some kind of aged care.
The plans were originally for an aged care hostel, which would have been an extension of Teloca House in Narrandera.
However, the Barellan community was advised against both measures and the plans then turned to aged care units instead.
“We started the Barellan Aged Care Support Committee not long after that. Our first fundraiser was a swap meet,” Mrs Vicary said.
The community has been fundraising for years since, with a yearly swap meet, a weekly bingo night, Bunnings sausage sizzles and private donations.
Overall the community managed to raise $300,000 by 2017. According to Mrs Vicary, this amounted to every man, woman and child in Barellan donating $500.
“We were fortunate enough to get a substantial private donation, but it’s all been the community,” Mrs Vicary said.
Not only have the community been steadily raising money, local businesses have donated their time, skills and equipment to help build the first two units.
“Barellan Blue Metal donated thousands of dollars worth of metal.
“We’ve been customers of the Bendigo Bank for years, and when there’s been times when there are shortfalls – payments that needed to be made before grant money arrived – they’ve been very understanding.”
Construction of the two units has been under way for most of last year.
The units were designed by Darryl Forbes-Taber from Project Planning and Design in Wagga.
“We were fortunate to be able to go to him. He made sure that everything was built to standard for aged care.
“The units are designed so that if you’re in a wheelchair, everything’s accessible. If you need to get an ambulance stretcher in an out there’s enough room to get everything in and turn it around.”
Mr Forbes-Tabor kindly donated his services to the group.
Alongside the fundraising, the Barellan Aged Care Support Committee was also able to get a grant for over $150,000 from the Department of Infrastructure and Development, which was presented by Sussan Ley last year.
The donation was partly secured through the help of Cara Dale, from C2 consulting.
Additionally, last year the Narrandera Shire Council made the decision to match the funds raised by the committee dollar for dollar.
“Now that they’re built, we were wondering what to do about landscaping – we had no funds left for landscaping. Some Barellan men got together and said they’ll do the landscaping for us,” Mrs Vicary said.