Westhaven renovates houses it acquired from Northcott

Westhaven renovates houses it acquired from Northcott

Dubbo-based Not-for-profit Westhaven’s almost $200,000 makeover of two Dubbo houses follows an “explosion” in the demand for its disability services. The properties at 6 & 8 Quinn Street were previously owned by the fellow disability service provider, Northcott, which exited Dubbo in March.

Westhaven’s chief executive officer (CEO) Andrew Everett took part in a tour of the organisation’s newly-renovated properties this week, during which he revealed the impact of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) on it.

The CEO said Westhaven’s client base has probably doubled in the past 18 months to about 210 while its workforce had grown to include more than 550 workers, making it one of Dubbo’s biggest employers.

“We’ve seen an explosion in the demand for our services as a result of more people accessing the NDIS,” Mr Everett said.

Westhaven is currently operating out of Dubbo, Nyngan, Orange and Broken Hill.  Mr Everett said it offered a “complete suite of services” which in the case of adults ranged from group homes and supported employment to day programs.

Day program services are being delivered to 121 clients in Dubbo and the district from the refurbished homes, dubbed “inspired learning facilities”, and through “one on one activities within the community.” The CEO said the day program services supported clients in achieving “outcomes that are in their goals” which could include greater community access and better life skills to help them “live more independently”.

“…we are here for the long haul.”  Westhaven CEO Andrew Everett

The fit-for-purpose facilities, co-designed with clients and other professionals, feature lounge and TV areas, sensory rooms which have a “calming” effect, and craft and cooking areas. Wider halls and doors, upgraded kitchens and air conditioning and disability bathrooms have made the properties more user-friendly. “I think we’ve spent close to $200,000 refurbishing them,” Mr Everett said. “It reflects a considerable investment and commitment by Westhaven to the people of Dubbo that we are here for the long haul.” Day Program participants were welcomed to the Inspired Learning Facilities on December 3 after Westhaven staff worked through the weekend to get them ready.

On Tuesday evening Mr Everett officially opened the facilities by cutting a ceremonial ribbon.

Story: Daily Liberal 18/12/18 – Kim Bartley
Photo: Belinda Soole