We are pleased to announce that the Odyssey House Victoria Hope Centre in Lucknow, near Bairnsdale, is now officially open and has completed its first 6-months of operation. Despite plans to hold a launch on 20th April, the event had to be postponed indefinitely until COVID-19 related restrictions on any gatherings are lifted.
We officially began operating on April 15th with a small number of residents transferred from our Lower Plenty therapeutic community. This group of residents have helped to establish the culture of the program and have facilitated a peer-led therapeutic community.
During COVID-19 restrictions, we will be ensuring all bedrooms are single occupancy. Post COVID-19 we will increase capacity by a further 15 beds, to a maximum of 32. All residents will be from Victoria.
The car park has been extended to accommodate staff cars in addition to visitor cars (post COVID-19) and we will be paving around the perimeter of the building. We have also engaged a local Gunai Kurnai artist, Ray Thomas, who will be painting a piece for the reception area of the Centre.
So far, the residents have been busy with plant propagation thanks to a sizeable donation of seedlings from Loy Yang B and they are undertaking significant tree planting in conjunction with East Gippsland Water. In addition to participating in their program schedule, this has given residents a sense of pride in being able to give back to their community. The residents have also been looking after the new chickens and guinea fowl that we now have on site.
Residents have given lots of positive feedback about the new centre, with its welcome space and tranquil environment, while they work on their treatment goals. Although the residents are missing the usual family visits that are not possible due to COVID-19, there are many examples of some great changes and personal growth being made by those in the program.
Odyssey House Victoria would like to thank members of the Hope Restart Centre Board and local businesses and services, who have made it possible to establish the program during these difficult times, together with the generosity of so many. This has doubled the impact of the significant government funding from federal and state governments, and has made residential rehabilitation more accessible for the people of Gippsland.