A Welcome to Country signalled the beginning of formal proceedings of the official opening of the Odyssey House Victoria Hope Centre on 27 April which is located in Lucknow on the traditional lands of the Gunaikurnai people.
Jenny Macklin, Chair of Odyssey House Victoria welcomed guests which included The Hon Darren Chester MP, Federal Member for Gippsland and The Hon Tim Bull, State Member for Gippsland East.
Ms Macklin expressed delight that Odyssey House Victoria was finally able to celebrate the much-awaited official opening which had been postponed due to COVID. She thanked the Hope Restart Board for their tireless work in gaining widespread support for the project from the local community, and their local fundraising campaign which raised almost $1 million.
Ms Macklin also recognised the significant financial
contributions of the Peter and Lyndy White Foundation, Alinta Energy/Loy Yang B Power Station and Patties Foods, and the Federal and State governments for providing construction and operational funding.
In his speech, Darren Chester acknowledged the commitment and support of the local community in establishing the Centre and the vital role that Hope plays in supporting recovery in Gippsland. He expressed his appreciation of everyone who made this possible and paid particular tribute to Peter and Margaret Down and the Hope Restart Board.
The event also marked two-years’ operation of the Hope Centre. Residents were first accepted in April 2020 and a number of residents have already successfully transitioned through the program.
Two former residents then shared their personal stories of recovery, expressing how important a locally based facility has been in enabling them to access the essential support and treatment they needed.
The 3000 square metre purpose-built facility includes 29 double rooms, with a capacity of 58-beds, courtyards, group-training rooms, a recreation room, and dining room. Operating as a therapeutic community, its values-based program provides a structured environment where residents and staff work together to help people make changes and choices on their pathway to recovery.
The event concluded with Richard Rijs (former CEO of Patties Foods), presenting a cheque for $128,607 to Odyssey House Victoria on behalf of Patties Foods. Guests were then invited to tour the facility.