Funding wanted for mental health facility
WOOLAMAI’S Shirani Perera is a step closer to achieving a rehabilitation centre in Bass Coast.
Her petition for a mental health and youth at risk facility was considered at Bass Coast Shire Council’s ordinary meeting last Wednesday.
Deputy mayor Cr Bradley Drew supports mental health awareness and backed Ms Perera’s petition.
“This is a massive undertaking by a member of the public. Mental issues are ever present and funding is always a challenge,” he said.
“It’s great to see Bass MLA Brian Paynter, representatives of Bass Coast Health (BCH) and members of the community supporting this cause. I certainly believe council should give its support. We can’t give up on mental health awareness. We cannot put a price on human life.”
Councillors voted to refer Ms Perera to the community grants program, which opened for applications in January, as well as forwarding information about other philanthropic trusts to support her funding aspirations.
“I enquired about the community grants program but they could only fund equipment for us. Unfortunately we are still looking to fund for a building. Community grants are designed to benefit the community immediately,” she said.
However, she is still well on her way to getting her project off the ground with the support of several community organisations.
The Wonthaggi Rotary Club has offered to source funding and Wonthaggi’s Anglican Church has offered two rooms so the program can start as soon as possible.
“The support has been overwhelming, so it is looking and sounding prosperous,” Ms Perera said.
Ms Perera said she had investigated Wangaratta’s Typo Station, which is a picturesque rural property designed to help youth at risk. She was impressed with her findings and hopes to have a similar program in Bass Coast.
“I will be contacting a counsellor from Melbourne to see what days she is available and a local artist willing to run art classes,” she said.
Ms Perera’s initial idea was to create a state of the art health facility called Sunasuma Maga, where people could rehabilitate from mental health and lifestyle problems without the added stress of travel. Ideally, she wanted the facility to be in a serene, countryside location.
“We are looking out for farmers who are willing to rent out a farmhouse with some acreage,” she said.
“If we are able to find someone willing to help us, we would be on the board.”
Ms Perera looked into a building near the Bass Coast Community Health Service in Warley Avenue, Cowes, but it was well out of the committee’s budget and didn’t have enough land space.
“Ideally I would like a country property where people have room to walk around and tend to gardens,” she said.
“I would also like it to be away from the public eye so people feel comfortable enough to go there.”
While Ms Perera establishes her program with the Anglican Church, funding is still desperately needed.
To donate, go to https://youth.chuffed.org/project/sanasuma-maga.
Short URL: http://thestar.com.au/?p=17678