THE tears in Steve Church’s eyes said it all; the new Lifestyle Solutions purpose-built community hub is the realisation of a dream.
Lifestyle Solutions is a national not-for-profit organisation that caters for the unique support needs of people with a disability.
It has operated in Forster since 2006, but the opening of the new centre in Boona Street Forster enables Lifestyle Solutions to deliver day programs for people with disabilities in an environment that accommodates a variety of low to high support needs. The hub will allow the organisation to offer more flexibility and innovation in community participation, life choices, transition to work and leaving care programs. The centre was the brainchild of coordinator Steve Church, who has been a support worker for Lifestyle Solutions since 2006.
“When my concept was in the dream phase, I began to focus upon the people we support not as a collective but as individuals. I watched, asked and listened to the people we support and our staff, to see what was working and what was not working,” Steve explained.
Steve wanted the new centre to be functional but also an inspiring and stimulating environment.
“I wanted to construct a place that had a balance of being functional and practical but most importantly, supportive and inspiring. I had a vision to create an environment that encouraged people and made them proud, a place that provided opportunities for every individual to develop and grow.”
Mayor Jan McWilliams was on hand to officially open the centre and expressed great admiration for Lifestyle Solutions staff and the people they support.
“In any community if you want to find the people that really care, come to a place like this, it’s full of the most amazing people,” Mayor McWilliams said.
Lifestyle Solutions managing director David Hogg was also present at the opening.
“As a national organisation, it is important that we develop strong local roots and community links because at the end of the day our national strength is built on these important local foundations. I thank Steve for his vision.”
Steve chose to conclude his speech with the words of the people Lifestyle Solutions supports.
“It’s awesome, it’s great, it’s colourful and there’s room to dance. It’s here, it’s 6 Boona Street, it’s our community hub.”