Gippsland Rotary Centenary House, Traralgon, Victoria

Gippsland Rotary Centenary House is an accommodation facility housing patients and their families who are undergoing treatment at the Gippsland Cancer Care Centre located a short walk away. It also provides accommodation where appropriate to families of patients of the Latrobe Regional Hospital who would otherwise need to travel unreasonably long distances to be with their loved ones.

The facility provides motel-type ensuite rooms with double bed, sofa bed, room for fold-out beds, and in some cases cooking facilities and eating areas. There are community kitchen, lounge, dining room, laundry, library, children’s play room, and a “Quiet Room” for family privacy. There is a secure children’s play area accessible only from within the House, a barbecue and outdoor living space and a tranquil courtyard. The facility has wheelchair access and a closed-circuit security system, also internet facilities to allow families to keep in touch.

Demand is such that a new wing, larger than the original facility, has recently been constructed. Work was recently completed on the $2.4 million Stage 2 upgrade of the valuable community facility which provides services to cancer sufferers from across the region. The development has seen an additional nine units for patients along with a new bathroom and laundry facilities, a community meeting room and outdoor areas.

Gippsland Rotary Centenary House, originally a major project to mark 100 years of the formation of Rotary clubs, was opened on 2 September 2006. The Rotary Club of Yarram was proud to be one of the Rotary clubs which contributed to its initial cost of approximately $2 million. A large proportion of the club’s annual disbursements for two consecutive years 2003/04 and 2004/05 was contributed. In addition the club approached many Yarram businesses and individuals, and were heartened by the generosity of Yarram traders and people in their donations. In January 2006 the Devon North Cricket Club organized a Charity Cricket Match in support of Gippsland Rotary Centenary House. The staff at the then Murray Goulburn laboratory in Yarram contributed generously. It certainly became, in the words of the brochure, “A Project for the Community, by the Community”.

Guests at Gippsland Rotary Centenary House come from all parts of East Gippsland, Wellington Shire, South Gippsland and Bass Coast. Costs to patients’ families are kept to a minimum and the facility is largely run by Rotary volunteers. For those living more than 100 kilometres from the hospital, their total out-of-pocket expense for staying at Gippsland Rotary Centenary House is a subsidised $15.00 per night, and sometimes there is no charge if the social worker at the Gippsland Cancer Care Centre advises that the patient cannot afford to pay for any accommodation.

The Rotary Club of Yarram continues to contribute to the funding of the House and has recently provided the proceeds of their inaugural Charity Fun Golf Day to the construction of Stage 2 of the project.

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