Local parents Erin and Trent Fisher joined politicians, staff, sponsors and the community at the official opening of the new Cerebral Palsy Alliance Port Macquarie facility today.
The four therapy roomed facility was purchased thanks to the generous $1.6 million donation from Sargents Pies Charitable Foundation and has been operating for four months.
For Erin’s six year old autistic and non-verbal son Kaleb, the new facility and therapists have changed her family’s lives in ways she never imagined possible.
“For the past three months we have been working with the speech pathologist who has supported us to introduce Kaleb to an iPad and communication APP,” Erin said.
“He is almost at making sentences and uses the APP to tell us what he wants to eat, give news at school and we are even seeing his cheeky personality come through.
“And Kaleb is able to interact better at school, which means so much to me knowing that he won’t be left out or left behind.
“Now we understand what he needs and when he needs it, all using the APP. This takes stress and worry off us as parents,” she said.
“We’ve been lucky that he has connected so well – by the second appointment he was interacting with his speech pathologist like he’d been going there for years.
“When you walk in the place is friendly and welcoming. Usually Kaleb is stressed but even the first time we came here he was calm and relaxed, which pleasantly surprised me.
“We wouldn’t have been able to achieve Kaleb’s communication goals without the support of the Cerebral Palsy Alliance team, and it gives us hope for what the future will bring for him.”
Federal Member for Cowper Luke Hartsuyker said that the facility was bringing life-changing opportunities to local families close to home and their support networks.
“Families like the Fishers will benefit from the partnership of Cerebral Palsy Alliance and Sargents Pies Charitable Foundation,” he said.
“Everyone in our community is important and people living with a disability need to have the services and supports, as we see today.”
CEO Rob White thanked Sargent Pies for their ongoing support of Cerebral Palsy Alliance and people living with a disability.
“We listened when locals asked for therapies and supports closer to home so they didn’t have to travel more than an hour,” he said.
“Already we have more than 100 clients working with our occupation therapist, physiotherapist, speech pathologist and early childhood therapy facilitator.
“The new Port Macquarie team will be supporting people living across the Mid North Coast, Taree and Great Lakes area of New South Wales.
“We are here to support the wider community living with a disability now and through the transition into the National Disability Insurance Scheme next year,” said Mr White.
Sargent Pies Procurement and Logistics Manager Brian Andrews received a framed plaque to be hung in their head office.
“We have been keen supporters of Cerebral Palsy Alliance, their teams and people living with a disability in rural and regional areas for more than ten years,” he said.
“Through the foundation we have funded more than 10 facilities so that children across the state receive the best intervention opportunities to have to opportunity to reach their goals.
“When we heard that families in the Port Macquarie and surrounding areas were travelling long hours and the extra pressure on staff we jumped at the chance to support the purchase of this great facility.”
Anyone in the local community living with a disability is welcome. Call Cerebral Palsy Alliance on (02) 5526 3800 to find out how they can support you to achieve your goals.