The program provides a balance between work, structured group sessions and recreation.
Participants are encouraged to deal with self-defeating patterns of thoughts and behaviours. This occurs in a safe and supportive environment where Odyssey House’s values of trust, concern, respect, honesty and love are promoted.
Residents have access to a range of professional staff including counsellors, psychologists, psychiatrists, doctors, nurses and social workers.
All residents participate in community decision-making. They also contribute to the functioning of the community through cooking, cleaning, and working on property development and maintenance. Over time, residents take leadership roles in various departments such as the office, property management and the kitchen.
Families are able to have regular contact and visits with residents, and this increases in frequency as residents move through the stages of the program. The Odyssey House Victoria Hope Centre is located at 455 Princes Highway, Lucknow.
Peter and Margaret Down first envisioned the concept for the Odyssey House Hope Centre in late 2015. Upon hearing the experiences of two people in recovery, Peter and Margaret realised that their region was poorly resourced for support services.
From 2016, plans for the, then named, Hope Restart Centre evolved. A board of local champions was formed, and strong community support was garnered. Realising that professional management was needed, the Downs approached Odyssey House Victoria and a partnership was secured. Land at Lucknow close to Bairnsdale, was located and a peppercorn lease arranged with the land owners.
Funding to build a new facility was obtained from Federal Government, from corporates, philanthropic trusts, and from Odyssey House, and funding to operate it was secured with the Victorian State Government. With the project viable, planning proceeded.
By early 2019, building commenced and, in early 2020, the 58-bed centre was ready to receive its first residents. Following its construction, management of the centre was handed over to Odyssey House and the name was changed to Odyssey House Victoria – Hope Centre. Staff were hired and a core group of seven residents came from Odyssey House in Melbourne to help new arrivals and staff learn about residential care and the Odyssey House ethos. Because of COVID-19, an official launch for 20 April 2020 was postponed, and new residents were carefully screened and admitted – in smaller numbers than originally planned.
The establishment of the Odyssey House Victorian Hope Centre is a remarkable story of how Peter and Margaret Down and the team they recruited were able to gain widespread community support throughout Gippsland, attract funding, and make their dream a reality.
With grateful thanks to all the key stakeholders and funders involved in making this dream come true:
Peter Down; Margaret Down; Richard Rijs; John Glynn; Tony Ward; Peter Neal; Ricky Ross; Julie Barling; Simon Anderson; Rod Parker; Donna McDonald; David Pollard and Adrian Jackson.
The Community of Gippsland; Victorian State Government; Australian Federal Government; The Peter and Lyndy White Foundation; Alinta Energy; Lou Yang B Power Station.
This certifies that Odyssey House Victoria has met requirements for certification of the Australasian Therapeutic Communities Association Standard. We are proud to be a Certified Group Therapeutic Community Member 2017-2020.