The first sod has been turned on Villa Maria’s purpose-built residence for young people with complex needs who are currently living in nursing homes.

The $3.76 million facility in the Melbourne suburb of Alphington is being constructed as part of the joint Commonwealth and state ‘my future my choice’ initiative.

The development will be home to 10 residents who will each have a private bedroom, kitchenette and living space.

“This is a long awaited day,” said Villa Maria’s CEO, Valerie Lyons at the soil-turning ceremony.

“It marks the beginning of a new era [and] a new way of truly responding to the needs of young people with complex care needs who are currently living in aged care nursing homes not suited to their specific needs or circumstances.

“As we turn the first sod of soil here today, we are paving the way for a brighter future.”

Villa Maria has committed $1.9 million towards construction costs and has provided the site for the building, which is valued at $1.85 million.

The Victorian government has provided $1.3 million towards construction.

Villa Maria is still $154,000 short of its construction budget and is appealing to the public for support.

“We hope the community will be inspired…and give generously to this terrific community asset which is set to make a vast difference to the lives of these young people and their families,” Mrs Lyons said.

Aged and Community Care Victoria described the ceremony as a milestone for younger people with high care needs.

“The aged care industry looks towards the government to provide specialist support and accommodation for young people with complex health problems,” said CEO, Gerard Mansour.

It is expected that construction on the facility will begin next month and Villa Maria hopes to open the home at the end of the year or early in 2010.

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