Young adults with autism and disability in the Queanbeyan region will soon have the opportunity to be supported to live independent lives in a state-of-the-art home.
The project, which is the third home to be developed by the Ricky Stuart Foundation, has secured much-needed funding from the NSW Government.
Local Canberra developer, Village Building Co donated more than $1.5 million worth of land to the Ricky Stuart Foundation to build the home, to be named The John Fordham House.
The 2000 sqm of land, located in the newly developed suburb of South Jerrabomberra, will help develop the foundation’s new housing project, providing a safe, independent home for up to five young adults living with autism or disabilities, as well as their support workers.
Named after Ricky Stuart’s friend and talent agent John Fordham, who passed away from cancer a few years ago, The John Fordham house is expected to be built by the end of 2024, with the $4 million contribution from the NSW Government to fund construction of the house.
“We feel proud to contribute to and privileged to be associated with the work of the Ricky Stuart Foundation,” The Village Building Co CEO Vince Whiteside said.
The John Fordham House will be built in central South Jerrabomberra, within 100 metres of shopping, recreational spaces and other services including a supermarket, medical practice, pharmacy and a range of dining options.
“The home is also close to the town park that has a water splash pad, formal and nature play areas, barbecue facilities and village green and entertainment space,” Mr Whiteside said.
Once fully developed, the suburb of South Jerrabomberra is expected to be home to 1500 households.
“South Jerrabomberra is about building a community,” said Mr Whiteside.
“The natural beauty of South Jerrabomberra, combined with the range of block sizes and housing options, is attracting people from different demographics including families, downsizers, young couples, and singles looking for a modern lifestyle.
“Village Building Company are proud to have been contributing to communities for the past 33 years.”
Canberra Raiders Coach and Chairman of the Ricky Stuart Foundation, Ricky Stuart said the idea for the project came after helping his daughter Emma move into her own home back in 2019.
“For many young people living with autism and disability, having a place they can call their ‘own’ brings immeasurable happiness,” he said. “For my daughter Emma, living in her own place meant she could shape her daily activities; it helped her to gain new hobbies and to learn new independent skills.”
Mr Stuart said the new South Jerrabomberra home is important for both the residents and for their support workers.
“The independent living home has everything South Jerrabomberra has to offer on its doorstep,” he said.
“Part of the vision for the Ricky Stuart Foundation is to keep young people with disability living in their own home, rather than in aged care facilities.”