WIMMERA Uniting Care will receive $3 million from the Federal Government for the region’s first sensory gallery in Baillie Street, Horsham.
Nanjing Night Net

The gallery will form the core of a $9.3-million community service centre, providing public exhibition space and a place for people to calm themselves before appointments.

Chief executive Wendy Middleton said the State Government had already committed $2.5 million for stages two and three of the centre and Wimmera Uniting Care had contributed $3.5 million.

Ms Middleton said planning for the project started in 2009 and she was excited the final funding was in place.

“We’ve finally secured the funding which is fantastic,” she said.

“This means that services which travel from Ballarat will now have a home.”

She said the centre would provide a central access point for Wimmera Uniting Care’s wide range of programs and services, and had the potential to create an additional 67 jobs once opened.

Ms Middleton said the final stage of the project had gone to tender and a house connected to the main Wimmera Uniting Care building would be demolished to create a double-storey building.

“The house has been in service for about 25 years,” Ms Middleton said. “It will now make room for a sensory gallery, which will be the first of its kind in the Wimmera.

“It will be open to anybody wanting to relax and use their senses and will play different kinds of music to help people feel less anxious before appointments.”

Ms Middleton said the building would also provide centralised administration, reception, a kitchen and disabled facilities.

“There will be varying sized community spaces, rooms for human service provision, training and a place for community groups to call their own,” she said.

Member for Lowan Hugh Delahunty said he was pleased the Federal Government had put money into the redevelopment.

Northern Grampians Shire Mayor Dorothy Patton said she was disappointed council had missed out on $2.7 million funding.

“We are extremely disappointed at yet again missing out on federal funding for the Halls Gap Community and Tourism Hub, which has been 30 years in the planning,” she said.

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