South-west community agencies are throwing their support behind plans for a new alcohol and other drug residential rehab centre in Warrnambool.

Members of Community South West say the Lookout proposal will address a major community problem and should be supported like the Peter’s Project cancer centre appeal.

Community South West Vice Chair and Mpower CEO Kerry Nelson said the Lookout was essential for the region.

“Community South West members are actively helping to create and develop a healthy and sustainable community in south-west Victoria,” Ms Nelson said.

“The Lookout falls into that category. As a community, we need to be able to offer assistance when people are brave enough to reach out for help,” she said.

“How devastated would you be when you put your hand up for help and find out you have to go on a waiting list to go somewhere else?”

Ms Nelson said the local community has a great history of pulling together to achieve what is needed.

“This is like the cancer centre; it’s something we need,” she said.

Cooinda Terang CEO Janice Harris encouraged the local community to get behind the appeal.

“It’s not suitable for people to be taken out of their own environment to get support,” Ms Harris said. “If people can stay in the region they have access to their families and community networks.”

Community Radio Station 3WAY-FM also supports establishment of a specialist residential rehabilitation centre in Warrnambool. “Such a facility will enable more people in our community to get the help and support they need to reduce or end their drug use,” president John MacInnes said.

“This in turn will lead to less criminal behaviour, better health and social connectedness as well higher rates of employment,” he said.

“A community problem requires a community response; together we can make it a reality.”

STAY Residential Services CEO Maree Sandford said the Lookout would address a major issue.

“This is a regional problem requiring a regional response,” Ms Sandford said.

“The Hamilton community rallied to support STAY when we undertook a building appeal and we hope people right across our region do the same for this worthwhile project.”

“People deserve to have hope and need understanding and support to thrive.”

Southern Way CEO Paul Lougheed said people with disabilities were not immune from drug and alcohol problems.

“Residential rehabilitation would have been very beneficial for some people we support; unfortunately they have had to go outside the area away from their local supports,” Mr Lougheed said.

“They don’t get the support they need because they have to travel and there are limited transport options,” he said.

“No doubt the centre would be well utilised.”

People can donate to the campaign at the ANZ Bank or through the WRAD website www.wrad.org.au

The Lookout campaign to build and operate a residential rehabilitation centre in Warrnambool is moving closer to reality with more than $135,000 donated since the community fund-raising appeal started on August 26.
The Western Region Alcohol and Drug Centre (WRAD) has also committed $600,000 to the new centre.
Community South West is an alliance of 15 community service not-for-profit organisations that are based in south west Victoria. The mission of Community Southwest is “To strengthen the capacity and viability of Community Southwest members to build sustainable and resilient local communities”.

WRAD is a founding member of Community South West.