The Ricky Stuart Foundation is looking to open a third respite centre for people with autism and other disabilities across the ACT border in Queanbeyan.
Having already established two respite houses – the Ricky Stuart House in Chifley and the Emma Ruby House in Cook, Canberra Raider’s coach Ricky Stuart is now hoping to establish the same service in his town of birth.
The two respite homes provide short-term accommodation for children aged between 12 and 18 and give carers and families the opportunity to take a short break from their caring roles.
The Foundation is looking to expand its support, by establishing specialised accommodation in Queanbeyan thanks to NSW Government funding. The proposed facility in Queanbeyan will be individual living, village atmosphere for people with disabilities to be able to live on their own while having support.
Member for Monaro John Barilaro has given a $35,000 grant to the foundation to undertake a feasibility study to build the specialised accommodation facility in Queanbeyan, which is believed to be made available for adults with autism.
Mr Bariliro said he would love to continue his support with the foundation in the future, and earmarked more funding for the building of the facility.
“Ricky is a Queanbeyan boy like me and is passionate about seeing the community thrive; his strong family values are the driving force behind this initiative,” Mr Barilaro said.
“The Ricky Stuart Foundation performs great work in providing support for families within the ACT and this grant will help them expand and improve the quality of life for people with disabilities and their families in Queanbeyan and the southern region.
“We often rely on a lot of services in Canberra so that is why I am announcing $35,000 to co-match funding from the Ricky Stuart Foundation.”
Stuart said the grant will help the foundation work towards helping adults who “get forgotten” and pushed into old age care.
“This is something that started out on a hope. We are very small in regards to other foundations but with the generosity and community help we have grown very quickly,” Stuart shared.
“The NSW Government’s funding helps the foundation but more importantly it helps people. This is about people, people living with disabilities and it has always been our goal to help families with disabilities.
“With this wonderful assistance, our Foundation will be much better placed to move forward with our third state-of-the-art facility recognising that specialised housing is an imperative requirement in the disability sector.”
Stuart’s daughter Emma, who was diagnosed with autism at age 11, is the inspiration behind his passion to help families and children with autism and other disabilities. Since then, the Foundation has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to promote early diagnosis and support for children and their families.