A new era of disability services in the Goulburn Valley officially commenced today with the opening of ConnectGV’s state of the art facility in Shepparton.
Federal Member for Nicholls, Damian Drum, said he had already witnessed the positive impact the double-storey Bowenhall Street facility was having within the community.
Made possible through $2 million of Federal Government funding via its Community Development Grants Fund, Mr Drum said the project was one of the most exciting and important he had been involved in since being elected to Federal Parliament in 2016.
“In April, I visited the new facility and it was just incredible to see first-hand the positive response – both from the staff and clients,” Mr Drum said.
“This amazing facility was put in as an election commitment in 2019 and the fact that the Coalition was re-elected has enabled us to come good on that promise of $2 million and I’m very proud of that.
“ConnectGV is a community-based organisation that is incredibly well supported, not only by the Shepparton community but by the broader region.
“It matters not whether we have people with disabilities in our family, it simply doesn’t matter – the support for Connect GV is enormous.
“ConnectGV has a long history in the region and the construction of this new facility adds to that history and assures the future of this vital organisation.”
In addition to the Federal Government funding, the new facility was made possible through community contributions of $3.3 million.
The new facility delivers clients flexibility, greater choice, embraces new technologies, and is a safe and inviting space that can be shared with the community.
ConnectGV chief executive Carolynne Frost said years of planning came to fruition when staff began the move into the facility – which sits directly across from the original site – in April this year.
“Our clients and staff have watched the daily progress of the build from just across the road, which has provided them with a sense of belonging before the doors even opened and a familiarity with the new surroundings, which is so important for many,” Ms Frost said.
“We were literally able to close the door of the old building and walk straight into the new building, albeit with a lot of work behind the scenes from our dedicated team of staff.
“The new facility not only offers pathways and opportunities for clients with a disability, it has opened up many possibilities for the entire ConnectGV team.
“We provide training, mentorship, student placements, traineeships and opportunities for existing and potential new staff to increase their skills and pursue their chosen path at ConnectGV.”
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development, Barnaby Joyce, said the Federal Government’s $2 million investment would provide long-term benefits.
“This investment will allow for the expansion of the already amazing work being undertaken by the ConnectGV team,” Mr Joyce said.
“This fabulous organisation makes a big difference in many people’s lives throughout the Goulburn Valley, which is why the Federal Government is so delighted to have assisted in this latest chapter of its long history.”
ConnectGV began operating 1954 and has grown and evolved to meet individual need. It is committed to becoming a leading and inclusive local disability service and registered NDIS provider, with individual supports, employment, and accommodation offerings.