31 August 2020

Fathers Day fundraising for Project Independence will get your heart racing

| Sharon Kelley
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Project Independence

Project Independence ensures people with an intellectual disability are able to buy and live in a unit. Photos: Supplied.

Raising funds has become increasingly challenging for charities everywhere as COVID-19 continues to bite, so Project Independence, which builds homes for people with an intellectual disability, is revving up their engines for a major effort.

The charity is holding a Father’s Day raffle and the major prize is a hot lap around Sydney Motorsport Park in the Audi R8 GT3 Cup race car of current driver Tony Bates. There are other great prizes too.

Audi R8

Win a hot lap for dad in this Audi R8 GT3 Cup race car!

Project Independence founder and chairman Glenn Keys AO, whose son Ehren inspired the charity’s work, said that with a waiting list of 52 people in Canberra and over 200 in Melbourne, not continuing the fundraising effort is not an option.

“To me, when Ehren was born, the first three things I thought were: where will he live when I die? Will he be safe? Will he be alone?” said Mr Keys.

“If you talk to pretty much any parent that’s what resonates for them. And as we get older, those things become even more concerning.

“I feel Project Independence answers those questions so well, particularly what happens if my child is sick or has an accident?”

Glenn Keys and his son Ehren

Glenn Keys and his son Ehren.

Project Independence provides a place for residents to grow their independence, both financially and socially, with guidance and support while living within a sustainable, safe and caring community. Once they have the confidence and financial means to buy their own place, says Mr Keys, they can be assisted to buy their own home.

READ ALSO Project Independence offers Australia-first opportunity for intellectually disabled residents

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

“It’s unique in Australia – it’s the only model of its kind,” said Mr Keys.

Project Independence was established in 2015, and the first resident to buy their own home after building equity in one of the project’s share homes has successfully bought a home with his partner.

The model can be replicated for other financially disadvantaged groups without the ability to gain a foothold in the homeownership stakes, such as single women over 55 years of age, and families escaping domestic violence.

But, right now, Project Independence is concentrating on raising the money to pay for the next 10 homes which will be for people with an intellectual disability.

READ ALSO Fundraising for charity stymied under COVID-19 lockdown conditions

“We’re hoping to find some further corporate sponsors to walk the Larapinta Trail with us in the future to help with fundraising”, Mr Keys said.

To support homeownership for Project Independence’ people with an intellectual disability, tickets are selling now for the Father’s Day Raffle prizes, including the hot lap, a Makita Tool Set, a fine dining experience at Sage Dining Rooms, a Working from Home Stationery Hamper, Gift Cards and five cases of Zierholz Beer, donated by Rural Funds Management.

Mr Keys thanked Tony Bates Racing, Alternative Freight Service, the Sage Dining Rooms, Westfield, Rural Funds Management and Betts for their support.

The Raffle closes on 31 August 2020 and will be drawn on 2 September 2020 at Aspen Medical Office at 10:00 am.

You can support Project Independence by buying a ticket in the Father’s Day Raffle, or by becoming a corporate supporter. If you are interested in becoming a corporate supporter, contact Nathalie Maconachie by email.

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