On Friday 29 September, Novita opened a brand new hub in Whyalla.
More than 100 guests joined us for the launch, including Novita families, our Ambassador nine-year old Bodhi Forsyth (who stole the show!), members of the Whyalla Auxiliary and local community, including local media.
Our distinguished guests included local Member for Giles Mr Eddie Hughes MP, representing the Premier of South Australia the Hon Jay Weatherill, Dr Susan Close MP, Minister for Higher Education & Skills and Katrine Hildyard MP, Minister for Disabilities.
Unfortunately, Ms Lyn Breuer, Mayor of Whyalla City Council, was unable to attend on the day; however Deputy Mayor Rick Santucci spoke on her behalf. We also hosted Councillors Clare McLaughlin, David Knox and Tom Antonio, NDIS Industry and Market Coordinator General Mr Robert DiMonte, Mr Dion Dorward from Regional Development Australia Whyalla and Eyre Peninsula, and our Novita President Rear Admiral the Hon Kevin Scarce.
The event was opened by Novita’s Chief Executive Officer, Greg Ward, who acknowledged the Barngarla people as traditional custodians of the land, followed by speeches from Mr Eddie Hughes, Deputy Mayor Rick Santucci and President Kevin Scarce.
We also heard from Bodhi, who had a quick chat with Novita’s Chief Operating Officer, Jeremy Brown, in front of the crowd.
Bodhi, who attended the launch with his mum Samantha, lives with autism spectrum disorder and has been with Novita for a few years.
He told Jeremy that he is in year four at the local Whyalla primary school, and he loves all-things video games – including Plants vs. Zombies, and watching gaming Youtubers, like DanTDM.
Bodhi said he works with his therapist at school, and at the previous Novita office in Whyalla. He said they talk about lots of things – including his emotions – and his therapist helps him learn how to understand and manage his emotions in different situations.
He said they also do fun sensory games, like playing with Orbeez, which are tactile and visual sensory balls that swell with water.
When Jeremy asked Bodhi what he thought of the new Novita hub, he said it was “pretty neat”.
Kevin Scarce then joined the stage to cut the ribbon with Bodhi and officially open the new hub.
More about the new Hub
The new Novita hub is in the old Whyalla News building at 21-23 Forsyth Street. It will give people living with disability, and their families, in Whyalla and the Upper Spencer Gulf region, better access to Novita supports, services, equipment and technology.
It also allows us to combine our existing therapy, day options and community inclusion services under one roof, in a state-of-the-art building that includes different therapy rooms, a sensory room, casting room and accessible outdoor space, as well as new rehabilitation and gym equipment.
We will be offering support, services and equipment we haven’t been able to offer people in the region previously. Things like more specialist equipment and a range of therapy services, including school holiday programs and groups, and new Telehealth facilities that will allow people to access highly-specialised skills for their individual needs through direct video link with Novita’s highly qualified practitioners in Adelaide, such as specialists in assistive technology and autism.
Novita’s CEO, Greg Ward, said Novita was excited to be able to offer this range of new supports and services to the local community.
“Local families and providers told us they wanted more access to Novita’s services, so we’re really pleased to make that a reality.
“We’re committed to improving the choices for kids, teens, young adults and older adults living with disability. Our aim is to make sure all the kids and young adults we work with receive the maximum benefit of frequency and intensity of support, and can choose services that are right for their particular needs. Evidence shows that this is where there’s a clear benefit to a person in reaching their full potential and getting the best outcomes,” he said.
The new hub will also allow Novita to meet increasing demand for disability supports and services as the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is rolled out in full across the State.