A new era for Melbourne disability respite services

March 21, 2016 by Ayal Tusia
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Over 150 guests have attended Jewish Care Victoria’s much-anticipated official opening of The Coppel & Piekarski Family Disability Respite Centre in Caulfield.


Mike Debinski, Michelle Coppel, Michael Coppel and Martin Foley MP

Special guests included MP Martin Foley and major donors Michael and Michelle Coppel.

This milestone marks the beginning of an exciting new era for Jewish Care, where the adult and children respite services have been combined under one roof. The investment of $8.5 million raised from community support has made this much-needed facility a reality.

Victoria’s Minister for Housing, Disability, Ageing, Mental Health, Equality and Creative Industries Martin Foley unveiled the official plaque, together with Michael and Michelle Coppel, the Centre’s lead donors.

Mr Foley described how organisations like Jewish Care understand the importance of being intrinsically linked to the community, and how the new Centre will inspire not only the families who use the facility, but the wider community as well.


The Centre

He also spoke about the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) and praised Jewish Care’s preparation for this significant change in delivering disability services.

Michael and Michelle Coppel were given the honour of placing the mezuzah on the front door of the Centre and spoke proudly, saying that they were inspired by the Centre’s vision and design, and the importance of supporting people in need.

Kate Weiss, whose daughter Amy has been a Jewish Care respite client for 10 years spoke of the importance such an “incredible” facility brings to the community and how she is “thankful every day that Jewish Care’s facilities exist”.

“Jewish Care has been there when we’ve needed it and [the children’s respite service] has allowed us to do what we couldn’t do before,” she added.

Other guests who attended the official opening included Caulfield Liberal MP David Southwick, Glen Eira Mayor Neil Pilling, Capital Campaign Patron Alan Schwartz AM, Capital Campaign Chair Susie Ivany, major donors of the Centre, architects and builders behind the project and Jewish Care’s board members, including President Mike Debinski.

“Our approach is visionary, but our commitment towards creating a more responsive, sensitive, accessible and inclusive environment for people with disability is at the core of what we endeavour to achieve for our community, every day,” Mr Debinski said.

Jewish Care CEO Bill Appleby praised the generosity of donors who have helped to bring the vision of the Centre to life.

“We are incredibly fortunate to have such a supportive community which is true to its principles of looking after one another. By your actions, you embody the values we cherish of family, kindness, respect and charity. Thanks to your generosity, hundreds of families in our community will face a brighter future,” Mr Appleby said.

The respite centre has been created with the needs of carers and clients in mind. With this new facility, carers have significantly better access to regular, short-term respite enabling them to focus on other family members or children, and to restore their physical and emotional reserves, to continue in their caring role.

The Centre will give relief to children and adults with disability, their family and carers by offering a safe, homely and culturally sensitive environment, while increasing social and recreational opportunities and independence. The state-of-the-art facilities cater for up to five children and five adults in separate and secure houses, where care is based solely around individual’s goals and needs.

The Coppel & Piekarski Family Disability Centre is the first project out of six to be completed over ten years as part of Jewish Care’s visionary Capital Campaign, Growing. For Our Community – a $180 million investment.

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