Nanyima Aged Care – From A Dream to Reality
In 1989, a group of visionary and enthusiastic Pioneer Valley region residents identified the critical need for a facility in their area to address the ongoing care and needs of their aged and infirmed residents.
To address this initiative, the Valley Retirement Hostel Steering Committee was established under the chairmanship of the then Mayor of the Mirani Shire Council and a community survey was undertaken through the Committee in October 1989 to identify whether the community at large agreed with the establishment of the facility.
This survey overwhelming agreed with the concept of an aged care centre and then the real work began. Preliminary plans and drawings for the facility were prepared on behalf of the committee by Mackay architect Bruce Illman from Mackay architects Creen & Illman Pty Ltd as the basis for relevant approvals and grant funding applications and ultimate construction works.
The Committee initially applied to the Federal Department of Community Services and Health for grant funding of $1.4 million towards the establishment a 40-bed facility in Mirani at an estimated cost of $2 million.
This application was ultimately successful, and the Committee was then faced with the task of raising the balance funding of $600 000 to make their dream a reality.
A suitable block of land with an area of 2512 square metres was purchased by Mirani Shire Council in Mirani as a site for the construction of the facility.
A Foundation Plaque was unveiled by Senator Flo Bjelke Petersen on Sunday 16th February 1992 on the project site at a ceremony attended by approximately 250 people to signify the commencement of the project.
The Committee enlisted the services of the highly reputed fundraising company Everald Compton International to coordinate this task. A condition of the grant funding was that this community contribution be secured by the end of June 1992.
A series of resources study meetings were held with key people in the community, local Governments and industry to establish that this target could realistically be achieved. A combined effort over an eight week period including visits to 590 families, a phone out to families unable to be visited personally, 3 social functions and newsletters led to an overwhelming success with approximately $800 000 being raised.
This amount was made possible through the incredible generosity of families in the Pioneer Valley and nearby regional centres and other large donations from local companies, councils, clubs and organisations.
Some of these large contributions include the following.
|Qld State Branch of the R.S.L.A (considered to assist in providing 8 units at $12000 per unit)
|R.S.L.A sub-branches in the Mackay area
|Department of Veteran Affair
|Walkerston Mirani Rotary Clubs
It must be stressed that there were many more substantial donations made by private individuals, community and industry groups too many to name which led to the success of this fundraising effort.
As all conditions for grant funding set by the federal government were now met, the agreed grant totalling $1 484 000 was then received from the Federal Department of Health, Housing & Community Services
The Committee then awarded the tender for construction of the facility to T. F. Woollam & Sons at a cost of $1 894 000 and construction commenced on 23rd February 1993.
The project was subsequently completed, and possession provided to the Committee on 11th November 1993 at a final construction cost of $ 1 924 251 with the initial Superintendent of the Centre, Sonia Allen, a highly accredited and experienced professional was appointed on 25th October 1993. The first resident was admitted to the Centre on 22nd November 1993.
The centre operated as a 40-bed facility up until it became apparent that the overwhelming need for additional beds was critical for the area.
The committee then made the decision to expand the facility with an additional 11 beds to a total of 51 bed capacity. These extensions were undertaken with completion in 2003. Since that time, however, the centre has taken the decision to consider a further extension of 20 beds to specifically handle dementia patients.
A final decision on the timing for this extension is imminent and demonstrates that, even in a small community such as Mirani, with the will and dedication of the management, staff and ongoing community support any dream can become a reality.