A group of Yooralla’s residential clients have successfully completed an ambitious project to create their ultimate outdoor space in their shared home.
Funded through the State Trustees Australia Foundation’s 2018 Grassroots Grant program, the project aimed to redesign an old, underutilised garden, transforming it into a wheelchair accessible social space.
Kristy McMurray, Manager of Yooralla’s Ventilator Accommodation Support Service (VASS) where the clients live, said the collective vision was to create a space that would offer privacy, promote independence and increase social connectiveness among residents and their friends and family.
“The outdoor space was established outside of a kitchen window so that residents would be able to enjoy their privacy, whether alone or with their friends and family, while having their support worker nearby,” she said.
An important feature of the new outdoor area is multiple power points to enable power supply for ventilators and other essential equipment.
Kristy said this meant that residents could choose how long they wanted to stay outside without any interruptions.
“With power points, residents can be set up and left to enjoy their time in the garden for as long as they want; otherwise, clients would have to rely on external batteries to charge their equipment,” she said.
The six-month project was a collective effort, starting with planning meetings to brainstorm individual ideas.
Kristy said it was important that each resident added their unique touch to the design.
“For example, Sam (pictured left) chose pots with flowers, as she is a big fan of colour. She also wanted to create an accessible space to host family members when they came to visit. Narelle (pictured right) chose to focus on finding some suitable animal sculptures to provide the garden with character. Another resident wanted to make sure the garden features trees, particularly an apple tree and a lime tree.
“Essentially acting as project managers, the residents provided the concept and design, sought quotes for furniture and accessories, went to retail stores to purchase items and negotiated the timelines for tradespeople to undertake works,” she said.
Yooralla’s VASS, a world-class purpose built accommodation, which provides tailored supports for ventilator dependent people, is the only facility of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere.
To learn more about Yooralla’s VASS or other residential vacancies that provide supported independence for people with disability across Victoria, you can visit Yooralla’s website, book in for a free information session or download Yooralla’s free guide about housing in the National Disability Insurance Scheme.
The State Trustees Australia Foundation’s Grassroots Grant program supports projects that address social inclusion, social participation and carer support.
Photo: Samantha, left, and Narelle