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Disability support service L’Arche in Canberra celebrates 40 years

By Elias Hallaj 16 March 2018 0
Celebrating the L’Arche 40th anniversary in Woden last night (from left), Cindee Richardson, incoming L’Arche Genesaret Community Leader/CEO, Joanne Mitchell, L’Arche community member, David Treanor, National Leader of L’Arche, Kim Sinclair, Interim CEO, and Barry Sandison, L’Arche Genesaret Board President. Photo: Supplied.

Celebrating the L’Arche 40th anniversary in Woden last night (from left), Cindee Richardson, incoming L’Arche Genesaret Community Leader/CEO, Joanne Mitchell, L’Arche community member, David Treanor, National Leader of L’Arche, Kim Sinclair, Interim CEO, and Barry Sandison, L’Arche Genesaret Board President. Photo: Supplied.

L’Arche is a French word meaning “the Ark”. The L’Arche Genesaret community in Canberra, one of the first co-residential groups for people with an intellectual disability, celebrated its 40th anniversary in Woden last week.

More than 190 guests, including representatives from across Australia, gathered at the Canberra Southern Cross Club to celebrate the milestone, which also marks the foundation of L’Arche in Australia.

L’Arche Genesaret Board President Barry Sandison said L’Arche was celebrating its 40th anniversary with a clear direction to open new homes for people with and without a disability this year.

“L’Arche has a unique story in shared living and community building alongside people with an intellectual disability and we are looking forward to welcoming new members and establishing new homes in the next 12 months and beyond,” Mr Sandison said.

“L’Arche provides a place of belonging and welcome, in our four residential homes in Woden and through intentional and regular community gatherings at our Hub in Phillip,” he said.

Our gorgeous Women’s group celebrating International Women’s Day at The Hub in Phillip.

Posted by The Hub in Phillip on Thursday, 8 March 2018

L’Arche Genesaret began in Bungendore in 1978 and moved to Canberra in 1980. It was the first L’Arche community established in Australia, and since then, others have formed in Sydney, Hobart, Brisbane and Melbourne. New communities are forming in Newcastle, Perth, Adelaide and Bendigo.

Since its beginning, L’Arche has been at the forefront of radical social change spanning the past four decades. From the dismantling of institutional living, to the rollout of the National Disability Insurance Scheme, L’Arche has advocated to “make known the gifts of people with an intellectual disability”. Communities of L’Arche challenge conventional notions of support and caregiving by promoting mutuality and an awareness that everybody is both vulnerable and gifted. This way of living goes beyond inclusion and recognises the significant contribution people with intellectual disabilities make as teachers and leaders in creating a more humane and just society.

L’Arche members leading an evening of stories and song at last night’s 40 th anniversary celebrations, from right, Joanne Mitchell, Elizabeth Archer, Anne Walsh, David Treanor and singer/song writer John Coleman.

L’Arche Genesaret operates a social enterprise in Phillip called The Hub, which offers courses and a central space for the whole L’Arche community to gather. This venue is also available for hire. The Canberra community is a member of the International Federation of L’Arche, which began in France in 1964 and today has 152 member communities in 37 countries worldwide.

For more information about opportunities to join the L’Arche community in Canberra, please contact the L’Arche Genesaret office on 6282 9066 or email canberra@larche.org.au. The Hub’s Facebook page is www.facebook.com/thehubinphillip The website is available at www.larchecanberra.org.au

You can also follow L’Arche Australia on their Facebook Page.

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