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High Care Home ~ Armidale ~



Project Vision & Executive Summary High Care Home Specifications About Our Clients The Ascent Group Project Team Budget & Confirmed Support Additional Information
Disability is a matter of perception. If you can do just one thing well, youre needed by someone. ~ Martina Navratilova ~

Project Vision

The Ascent Group is creating a purpose-built leading-edge High Care Home to provide quality care & living for five Armidale community members who have complex disability needs. Sixty percent of the required $879,000 budget has been secured. The DA is approved & construction is commencing on 1 May 2010. Partners & Supporters are now sought to bring this vision to reality. Armidale's High Care Home will establish an important new benchmark by integrating best practice design for disability needs, services & living plus environmentally sustainable principles. Such leadership is especially important given the doubling of people living with severe disabilities in the last two decades. The Armidale community's High Care Home is the next step for The Ascent Group's 55 year mission; providing quality care & living for some of the most vulnerable members of our community.

Executive Summary
The Armidale High Care Home will accommodate five Armidale community members who live with complex disability needs. On site around the clock professional staffing will service & meet their continuous needs. All five people are existing clients of The Ascent Group & are eagerly anticipating the move into their new Home. This will be their first ever purpose-built home with features able to provide for their complex therapeutic needs, skill training activities, plus safe & comfortable indoor & outdoor environments. The Home will provide clients with the room to move with a degree of privacy through use of an innovative duplex design with three bedrooms on one side & two bedrooms on the other effectively operating as two joined units. With in-built suitability & flexibility the Home's design is durable for both demanding usage & able to accommodate further likely increases in the complexity of the client's needs as they age. The integration of environmental sustainability principles further enhances the quality of life provided such as passive solar design for warmth through New England winters.

Operating costs will be lower via energy efficiency, wear resistant materials & a lighter environmental footprint by using solar heating, hot water & power plus a grey water system. Providing accommodation & disability services has been the core business for The Ascent Group since 1955. The Ascent Group currently serves 31 clients in a range of community housing models.

$515,000 of the required $879,000 budget for the Home has been raised, with a target of $364,000 now remaining. The Ascent Group is now seeking community partners & supporters to build the Armidale High Care Home & establish a new benchmark for high quality facilities, care & lifestyle for people living with disabilities.

Design Snapshot
The Armidale High Care Home has been designed to meet the particular & specialised accommodation needs of the five community members & their disability needs. For instance, autism benefits from having good space to move, & epilepsy requires a safe, low risk non-injurious environment with impact absorbant floors & rounded edges on all furniture & fittings.

The floor plan is necessarily spacious to allow for movement in safety & comfort, particularly for three of the clients who have severe physical disabilities. Good access is required for wheelchairs & manual handling of equipment. A hydrotherapy bath is included to assist each of the clients in maintaining their physical flexibility & health while also providing a valuable source of relaxation & calming. Flexibility is key to the Home's design to meet increasingly complex needs that will come with ageing: ceiling tracking systems for mobility aids & railing in widened corridors to support walking & maintaining mobility for as long as possible.

Our Clients
Bram Maddison is an engaging man with a keen interest in people & their pets. Bram has been part of The Ascent Group since 1994. Brams physical challenges have not prevented him from enjoying his life a high point being able to walk & carry the 2000 Olympic Torch. The High Care Home will allow easier movement for Bram's wheelchair, safe access to the kitchen & gardens (Bram loves growing & cooking his own food!) & the hydrotherapy bath will help maintain his limited mobility. Bram will also be able to have his own pet dog, fulfilling one of his lifelong ambitions! David (not his real name) joined The Ascent Group in 1999 after spending many years living in a childrens institution which had provided substandard care. At the time David was malnourished & his quality of life had been extremely poor. David has brain damage which has resulted in a profound intellectual disability & uncontrolled epilepsy, though David has learnt how to move unrestricted around his unit. The High Care Home will enable David to safely watch staff prepare food in the kitchen which he enjoys - & have outdoor access to enjoy the garden & natural environment.

The Armidale High Care Home will accommodate five existing clients of The Ascent Group. Each client has high level disability needs including autism, epilepsy & severe physical disabilities. Round the clock assistance is required to perform everyday activities such as self care (bathing, eating), mobility (getting in/out of bed) & general communication (understanding & being understood by others). The clients with autism are quite active, which the new Home will much better support than their current accommodation, while the low impact design will be much safer for those who have epilepsy.

The Ascent Group

The history of The Ascent Group in many ways reflects the broader social changes for people living with disabilities, which began during the 1950s in Australia a time when the perception, treatment & care of people with developmental disabilities was characterised by feelings of shame & guilt leading to isolation & exclusion of both people living with disabilities & their families and communities. In 1955 a pioneering group of Armidale parents created a school for children with development disabilities, under the leadership of the Armidale & District Handicapped Children's Centre Committee. Since these foundations the organisation has been known as The Armidale and District Handicapped Children's Centre (19551983), The Armidale & Regional Sheltered Workshop (19811983), The Sub-Normal Children's Welfare Association Armidale Branch (19831984), Challenge Foundation of NSW Armidale Branch (19831993), Challenge Armidale (19932007) & now The Ascent Group.

Today, The Ascent Group specialises in high quality community, disability & employment services for rural & regional communities, delivered by dedicated community care professionals who live & work in the communities.The two key streams of this work are: 1. Excellence in service: improving quality of life & options, promoting individuality & respecting rights, & assisting with service access services to meet client needs while remaining within their community; and, 2. Excellence in business: through a culture of continuous quality improvement, strategic alliances & partnerships, valuing staff & volunteers' contributions while maintaining organisational growth & development to achieve sustainability.

Proven Experience
The Ascent Group has a demonstrated track record in building & managing purpose-built community & disability facilities. The Group's first accommodation services were founded in June 1961 with a hostel for ten children, later followed by a new purpose built facility known as Rusden House Hostel accommodating 20 children. Leone's Place, the day services centre (pictured below), was completed in 2002. The funding model for Leone's Place was similar to that for the Armidale High Care Home with funds coming from The Ascent Group ($280k), the NSW Department of Human Services Ageing, Disability & Home Care ($200k) & the Armidale community contributing $200k in cash & in-kind donations.

Project Team
Michael holds qualifications in General Nursing & Respiratory Intensive Care with 35 years experience in education, clinical care, management & community care. Since 1993 Michael has specialised in Aged Care Administration, with special interests in teaching & occupational health & safety. Michael joined The Ascent Group in 2008. Mahalath has over 18 years of specialist experience in ecologically sustainable development with a string of industry & community awards. Mahalath frequently conducts seminars and workshops on related issues & is actively involved in various aspects of the environmental movement: Vice President, International Solar Energy Society; Director, Climate Action Network Australia; representative of the Australia New Zealand Solar Energy Society; &, Deputy Chair of NSW Country Division of the Australian Institute of Architects.

Kevin Mead, CEO Kevin has 38 years experience in the disability services sector, with 25 years in senior management roles. Kevin began work with The Ascent Group in 1999. Kevin holds several leadership roles in disability services in Australia: Inaugural Chair of Disability Professionals NSW (DPNSW) & National Convenor of Disability Professionals Australasia (DPA). These industry bodies were supported by the Australian Government's Reframing the Future initiative to professionalise the Disability & Community Care Sectors across Australia for the benefit of service users, carers, staff, volunteers & communities.

Michael Barry Medical Care Planner

Mahalath Halperin Architect

A New Benchmark
The construction of the Armidale High Care Home, & the residential disability service provided, will meet all NSW Government Standards to enhanced levels (such as health care procedures, behaviour intervention & support programs (measured by decrease in challenging behaviours) through the Integrated Monitoring Framework (IMF) accreditation process. The Home will have an accredited 5 Star Rating for expected heating & cooling loads (exceeding the required standard required by Armidale Dumaresq Council's of 3 stars). Energy use recording & monitoring will occur annually to validate the 5 Star Rating. A further measure of performance will be the selection & usage of Armidale's High Care Home for study & education tours as a demonstration of best practice (such as participation in the Sustainable Living Tour, Sustainable Living Expo).

Sustainability & energy efficiency Heating & cooling (sub floor) Solar passive design Safety glass Solar power system Full fire detection & alarm system Fire retardant materials Water collection, utilising rain water tanks Grey water diversion for garden drip system Solar hot water (with booster) Quiet environment acoustically Hard wearing building materials & flooring Low maintenance grounds Garden areas for wandering & private spaces Secure fencing discreetly disguised by plantings

Budget & Confirmed Support

The Armidale High Care Home will establish a new benchmark in best practice for sustainable residential accommodation & services for people living with complex disabilities. The capital investment of $879,000 required to achieve this vision is greater than provided for in current government grant models. The construction cost averages $1,500/m2 compared to the existing industry benchmark for our region of approximately $1,100/m2. Experience has shown that this investment will generate significant returns from improved client safety & wellbeing, reduced client risk, product longevity (reduced maintenance), reduced energy & water costs. Recurrent funding for all ongoing operations, services & support for the clients, maintenance & repairs of the Home, are secured with NSW Department of Human Services Ageing, Disability & Home Care.
Total Budget $879,000

Funding Status

The NSW Department of Human Services Ageing, Disability & Home Care is the major funding partner & will take an active role in disseminating the knowledge gained from this innovative application of best practice disability design & sustainability principles.


Funding Goal $364,000 41%

Funding Rece ive d $515,000 59%

$15,000 for kitchen

Growing Community Need

~ the true measure of a civilised society is its willingness to assist its disadvantaged ~
The level of innovation & leadership embodied in the Armidale High Care Home becomes especially important when consideration is taken of the growing community need for high quality disability care. In NSW more than 400,000 people have a severe or profound disability & nationally the number of people more than doubled to 1.2 million over the twenty year period to 2003. The potential for increased demand for disability services is likely. The number of people of all ages with a moderate, severe or profound disability is increasing at a rate faster than the general population, partly due to the ageing of the population. Additionally, people with disabilities are generally living longer. At the same time social changes in family structures & work-life arrangements are resulting in fewer people with the opportunity & capacity to provide informal care in the wider community. For these reasons community based service providers like The Ascent Group perform a significant role. More than 70% of NSW government funding for services & supports is delivered through such organisations.

Further Information
The Ascent Group Organisational Details
Australian Company Number 059 901 512 Australian Business Number 54 059 901 512 Deductible Gift Recipient Authority to Fundraise Registered Office Postal Address Kevin Mead, CEO t (02) 6774-8977 m 0418 221 167 e Yes CFN12215 13 Myrtle Drive, Armidale NSW 2350 PO Box 18, Armidale NSW 2350

Supporting documents are available including current Annual Reports, Audited Financial Statements, Architectural Plans & Project Budgets. All Ascent Group policies & procedures for accommodation services meet the requirements of NSW Department of Human Services Ageing, Disability & Home Care.