Ribbon Cutting for New Accommodation at Quest Bundanoon
The transformation of an old amenities block into the Banksia and Acacia Cottage at the Quest for Life Centre in Bundanoon is now complete, with an official ribbon cutting celebration held to unveil the new accommodation on March 23.
The renovation works have increased the Centre’s accommodation capacity by 8 spaces. Given demand for the Centre’s mental health-related residential programs, this additional accommodation means more people can attend Quest programs.
Quest Founder and CEO Petrea King said it was great to see the rejuvenation of an ageing building that had been mostly used for storage for the past 20 years into “very comfortable accommodation”.
“Due to supply issues and COVID the completion of the refurbishments took longer than planned, which is why we’re so delighted now to have this additional accommodation so we can have more participants join our programs,” Petrea said.
“This new accommodation is fresh and spacious and has been built thanks to very generous donations. The architect Alison of Coble Stephens Architects in Moss Vale has created an internal environment that’s going to be lovely for our participants.”
Petrea said the new accommodation had come at an important time of increased demand for Quest’s services after a few difficult years for people in communities right across Australia. She said the units would help alleviate the strain that had been placed on the Centre during COVID, which had limited the number of participants that could be accommodated due to a limited number of private rooms.
“The last couple of years have been challenging for many people with the challenges of COVID, natural disasters, and the uncertainties of the future. People have also been dealing with personal things on top of that, which might have included a diagnosis of an illness, the death of someone they love, the breakdown of a relationship, or other traumatic circumstances.”
The new units – named the Banksia and Acacia Cottage – each contain full bathrooms, kitchenettes and two separate double bedrooms – allowing the Centre to accept more private room bookings from its residential program participants.
Builder Mark Dobson of Mittagong’s Dobsonei Constructions, who will attend the ribbon cutting ceremony, said he felt passionate about the project due to the importance of organisations like Quest for Life for the wider community.
“It’s been fantastic, I love working with Quest,” Mark said.
“I’m also with the Rural Fire Service at Mittagong and I know that after the bushfires some fire brigade members from other RFS brigades came to stay at Quest after the stress they were experiencing. It’s such an important organisation.”
As part of the project, Mark employed local Southern Highlands subcontractors including Platinum Shower Screens & Splashbacks and Andrew Knowles Electrical, both of Mittagong.
Quest’s Accounts manager Martin Heffernan said the Banksia and Acacia Cottage were named to align with the Centre’s existing accommodation lodges, Waratah and Boronia, with one new unit built to be fully wheelchair accessible, with disability compliant doorframes, a drop-down mobility shower seat, and a wheelchair accessible path leading from the carpark.
“This new accommodation includes two side-by-side units with two bedrooms each, with two bathrooms. Two of those new bedrooms are disabled access compliant. So we can now host anywhere from four and up to eight additional people,” Martin said.
Martin said the new units were converted from the former amenities block of a caravan park that previously occupied the land on which the Quest for Life Centre sits over a period of more than 12 months.
“It’s come up really well. It’s all been done within a budget, but it doesn’t look like it’s been built to a tight budget. We chose to leverage and repurpose the existing structure rather than demolish it and rebuild, which is more aligned with the philosophy here – so we’ve kept part of the history.”
The new Banksia and Acacia Cottage at Bundanoon was bursting with colour for the opening event thanks to the generosity of Moss Vale florist Fiona Nixon.
Fiona, of Fiona Nixon Flowers, provided arrangements of blooms sourced from her own garden, the Quest for Life Centre’s nine-acre grounds, and the Jonima flower farm.
Fiona combined country cottage-style flowers with Australian natives and foliage, including banksias, hydrangeas, proteas, misty limonium, dahlias, goanna bush, and nerines to create beautiful bouquets for the entrance of the new Banksia and Acacia Cottage and its interiors.
In the coming months, additional landscaping will be added to the building’s surrounds including an array of native plants.
The Quest for Life Foundation is a charity that has helped more than 125,000 people over the last 33 years. Established in 1989 by Petrea King after a series of personal traumas, Quest provides educational self-help programs and community-based workshops that encourage, educate and empower people to improve their resilience and peace of mind during times of illness, depression, grief and trauma.
Quest encompasses an holistic approach to physical, mental, emotional and social wellbeing. We are committed to making a positive difference in our community.
Petrea King is the Founder and CEO of the Quest for Life Foundation. She is a frequent keynote speaker at medical and other conferences, a facilitator, teacher and trainer and, for 22 years, has been a monthly guest on ABC’s Midweek Conference and Nightlife where she discusses the challenges of living a meaningful life in the midst of illness, trauma, difficult circumstances and tragedy.