For all those involved with Goulburn Options, the long wait is over.
The organisation has officially moved into its new centre, opposite the Vietnam Veterans Commemorative Walk on High St, Seymour, which represents a game-changer in terms of the disability and support service it can provide to clients.
While the new property was bought almost a year ago, it took some time to be ready to move from 260 Delatite Rd, about 2km out of town, where it had been based since 1998.
Goulburn Options chief executive Rosey Panelli said it was important for people with a disability to be able to take part in everyday life, something which was difficult when located on Delatite Rd.
‘‘We’re looking forward to being right in the centre of town and being able to access things like public transport, shops and facilities that are now just on our doorstop,’’ she said.
‘‘Delatite Rd was a beautiful open space and it was good for the 20 years we were there. But now people feel it will be more appropriate for us to be centrally located, so we’re fortunate to have a building that’s really suitable for our needs.
‘‘More people now will be bringing themselves to programs. They’ll catch public transport or walk and I think it does create more independence for our participants.
‘‘At Delatite Rd if we wanted to go somewhere then everyone had to pile into a bus but now they can travel in a way that suits their needs.’’
Mrs Panelli however would not be surprised if staff and clients still felt a twang of nostalgia for the old premises.
‘‘When people work at and attend a centre for 20 years, they do have really fond memories of that place,’’ she said.
‘‘But I think that’s balanced out by the excitement of a new building that’s got so much more inside space to use and all the new opportunities that offers.
‘‘I think we’d outgrown Delatite Rd, certainly for the administrative staff, we were all tripping over each other trying to work in very cramped and noisy conditions. So it will be good for the staff to have quiet places to do other jobs.’’
Looking ahead, Mrs Panelli said Goulburn Options still had a few things to be done, including a new kitchen which needed to be built and plans to develop the front garden.
‘‘We want to turn it into a beautiful outdoor space but again it’s going to take a certain amount of fundraising and planning to complete,’’ she said.
But her biggest challenge was how Goulburn Options navigated the regional rollout of the National Disability Insurance Scheme in early 2019.
‘‘We need to be really visible in the marketplace, to be flexible, to offer a really wide range of services, so it challenges us to think about how we can do that,’’ she said.
‘‘However, moving into a new building that’s bigger and more flexible is certainly going to give us a good platform for moving forward and coping with the challenge of being part of the NDIS.
‘‘We hope there are people in the community who might benefit from our services who are perhaps not aware of what we can do, or for whom we did not seem relevant because we were so far out of town.
‘‘Now that we’re right in the heart of the community, people will be more aware of that.
‘‘And it’s really positive to see a key business in Seymour and a key employer flourishing and expanding and really continuing to add to the prosperity and quality of services available in the town.’’
Goulburn Options is holding its formal opening on the weekend of August 17.