16 September 2021

Cradle Mountain hut hike for more Project Independence homes

| Karyn Starmer
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Cradle Mountain, Tasmania

Experience the beauty of Tasmania’s unique wilderness and raise funds for Project Independence. Photo: Tasmania Parks & Wildlife Service.

Following the success of the Larapinta Trail walk, the next fundraising adventure for Project Independence will be in the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area to experience the epic beauty of Cradle Mountain.

Participants in Hut Hike for Homes will experience the adventure of a lifetime while raising funds to build more Project Independence homes for people with intellectual disability.

Over six days in April 2022, trekkers will experience the beauty of Tasmania’s unique wilderness, walking through temperate rainforest and wild moorland, around alpine lakes and beside raging waterfalls in the shadow of glacial-carved mountains.

READ ALSO: Project Independence heads into a new decade with a new CEO

Project Independence fundraising manager Nathalie Maconachie says, “Best of all, with every step you take, you’ll raise vital funds to help Project Independence build more homes for people with an intellectual disability, empowering them to live as independently as possible”.

“We’re hoping to raise $100,000 from this challenge to go towards our next development so we can offer the dream of homeownership to more people with intellectual disability,” Nathalie said.

Project Independence provides a place of safety for residents to grow their independence financially and socially with guidance and support while living within a sustainable, safe and caring community.

Hikers on the Larapinta trail

Jubilant participants on the 2020 Larapinta Trail trek. Photo: Project Independence.

Established in 2013 in response to a need for an alternative to government social housing, the Project Independence housing model provides a place for people with an intellectual disability to grow their independence, financially and socially, with guidance and support while living within a sustainable, safe and caring community.

Under the Project Independence model, rather than pay rent, participants pay for a share of the equity in the shared home as a step towards independently living in their own property.

In Australia, people living with an intellectual disability are among the least likely to attain homeownership. In many cases, this means they live in unsuitable or unsafe situations, negatively impacting their quality of life.

People with intellectual disability are already pushed to the margins of society, but they deserve choice and control over where they live and the ability to access suitable, safe and affordable housing.

READ ALSO What can shared green spaces do for community wellbeing?

There are currently over 250 people on the Project Independence waitlist for independent housing across the ACT and Melbourne, many of whom currently live with family members who cannot provide adequate care.

Aspen Medical director of culture and performance Maricel Giorgioni participated in this year’s Larapinta Trail trip and enthusiastically recommends the Project Independence adventure.

“It has changed my outlook on what I can do both professionally and personally,” Maricel said.

“It was not just about the walk, it was the whole package. It was an adventure that we could also share with our friends and colleagues, raise funds and importantly raise awareness of Project Independence and the need for more social housing. It felt really good to be helping people.”

While no extensive trekking experience is required, the Cradle Mountain trek is ranked 3/5 and is designed for people who are relatively fit and willing to train. The trek is a physical challenge and participants can expect the days to vary from easy exploration walks to day-long hikes over rough terrain. Places are limited and registration is now open.

For more information, visit Project Independence Cradle Mountain.

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