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IRT Kemira an International Award Winner

on the Tuesday, September 26, 2017

IRT's Lifestyle Community for ageing people with intellectual disabilities and their primary carers at IRT William Beach Gardens last week won a Commendation for Excellence in Ageing Services at the Global Ageing Awards in Switzerland.

The Awards recognise programs and services that are models of innovation and excellence, and contribute significantly to the quality of life of residents.

The Community, Kemira at IRT William Beach Gardens in the Illawarra, opened in 2016 and features 12 universally designed villas, a community centre, and a five-bed respite centre.

"We’re immensely proud of Kemira. It addresses a crucial gap between aged care and disability services, and is helping to keep families together as they age" IRT Group Chief Executive Nieves Murray said.

"At Kemira, people with intellectual disability rent a home of their own and live with their primary carers within a supportive community as they age.

"This ensures that people with disability can continue living at Kemira, even if they become separated from their primary carers due to poor health or passing," Ms Murray said.

Kemira residents Christine and her daughter Narelle now live next door to each other in one-bedroom units.

“As us carers age the worry is what will happen to our children. It's taken a load off my mind – it's been the worry of my life, my daughter's future," Christine said.

Her daughter Narelle says she likes Kemira because it's safe and she's always got friends to talk to.

"I go out for dinner in the community room, to watch DVDs or talk and giggle and laugh. It’s a change but it’s good to do your own stuff," she said.

Kemira at IRT William Beach Gardens was co-designed with disability service providers, Greenacres Disability Services, Community Gateway and Interchange Illawarra, and supported by researchers from the University of Wollongong.

It’s won a swag of awards and hosted delegations from other service providers, both in Australia and overseas, looking to learn from its success.

“We’d love to see more Communities like Kemira built all around the world,” Ms Murray said. “Winning a Global Ageing Award gives us a platform from which to share our message of inclusion, innovation and collaboration”

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