Funds boost transformation of preschool for disability services hub

Business Enterprise Centre board members Mayor Phyllis Miller and Cr Jeff Nicholson present the funds to Aussie Biscuits' Tish Humphries and Shirley Stonham.
Business Enterprise Centre board members Mayor Phyllis Miller and Cr Jeff Nicholson present the funds to Aussie Biscuits' Tish Humphries and Shirley Stonham.

Work to transform the site of the former preschool into a community hub for people with a disability has just received a big boost.

$54,000 in surplus funds from the not-for-profit Business Enterprise Centre has been handed over for the project.

Aruma, which incorporates the former House With No Steps, confirmed the funds would continue the transformation of the Abbott Street facility.

"Work at our new hub has kicked off with renovations of the toilets and accessible bathroom including shower and toilet," an Aruma spokesperson said.

"There is also some other minor construction work with the widening of some doorways and putting in a new path.

"The additional funds will help with some other needs such as air conditioning, new flooring, an upgrade of kitchen facilities to re-establish opportunities for cooking classes and social events, some new gardens and outdoor furniture."

It's an exciting time for the organisation, the new Aussie Biscuits factory opened in Rankin Street in 2018.

"The hub will be a meeting place for people to gather and then go out and be active in local community events/activities," the spokesperson said.

"The hub will also provide a space for skill development and we hope to revamp our cooking classes that were once very popular but due to lack of space we could not continue this."

The site lends itself to varied activities including gardens and games and introducing chooks.

"We will also be looking to use the building for weekend activities for school aged children who are often looking for day visits (and not necessarily overnight respite)," the spokesperson said.

"And finally, we are considering social evenings such as games nights, football nights, dinners. We want to offer a wide variety of social supports for those in our area.

"We're very grateful to Forbes Shire Council for this very generous donation."

Aruma hopes to finalise work on the site by December and move in in the new year.

They currently support 40 adults and six children with a disability in the Forbes area, and a further 95 children and adults in early childhood intervention and therapy supports.

The new hub is right next door to the early childhood intervention and therapy building, and will give them more space for outdoor or one-on-one therapy.

Work to transform the former preschool in Abbott Street into a disability service hub is under way.

Work to transform the former preschool in Abbott Street into a disability service hub is under way.

Work to transform the former preschool in Abbott Street into a disability service hub is under way. Photos supplied.

Work to transform the former preschool in Abbott Street into a disability service hub is under way. Photos supplied.