Anam Cara House Geelong started as a dream – that of Founder, Diane Wright. Through many years of effort, Diane’s vision of creating a respite and palliative care facility in a homelike environment has been realised. The term ‘hospice’ means ‘a resting place’ and it was envisaged that this facility would provide quality residential respite care in a home-like environment. The building was kindly donated by The Archdiocese of Melbourne, with many thanks to the vision of Father Kevin Dillon, and the generosity of The Parish of St. Mary’s Geelong. Anam Cara House is the name for the hospice – ‘anam cara’ is the Gaelic term for ‘soul friends’.
Capital funds for renovating the site were raised from generous donations from the Geelong community, a Federal government grant, and philanthropic trusts. Alana, Anam Cara’s Community Engagement Coordinator gave me a tour of this beautiful home.
The mission of Anam Cara Geelong is to provide the local community with a residential respite facility, supporting people who care for a loved one with a life limiting illness at home.
The project was a first for Geelong as the only specialised residential respite facility in the region to integrate residential respite in a home like environment, holistic care, information, education, volunteer support and complementary therapies; in line with the current Palliative Care Australia standards and certifications.
In May 2016, “game changing” news was received by the House in the form of respective pledges of $5m by each of the Federal Coalition and Federal Labor Party to build a new Anam Cara Geelong.
“Our organisation has recognised the critical function of our long term sustainability, and we have also received tremendous support recently from the State Government” Alana said.
This support has come in the form of a state Government grant to enable the House to improve to build a business case that supports regular respite funding opportunities in partnership with all palliative care service providers across the Barwon South West region.
Anam Cara Geelong is community-based, and non-denominational. It is a classic example of community partnering; a project generated from within the community, reflecting the community priorities of the wider Geelong region and backed by an impressive list of core and supporting partners including business leaders, healthcare professionals and private organisations.
Anam Cara House Geelong makes a huge positive difference to the lives of those with chronic or life-limiting illness, while also providing invaluable support to their carers and families. To donate please visit https://www.givenow.com.au/anacarahouse2017
Photo: Phil Hines Photography shows Alana standing in the sitting room. The quilt, is one of two and has the handprint of everyone who has been nurtured up to their final moment at Anam Cara.
Anam Cara Geelong will celebrate 10 years since first opening its doors, Friday 7th of July, 2017. Interview by Jacqui B
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