Belvoir Special School and Border rotary clubs have launched an appeal to build a "life skills house"

BIG IDEA: Belvoir Special School's Jimmy Rebuffo, 16, Principal Jamie Gay, Brandyn Larkins, 18, and Liam Knight, 17, where a skills building will go up. Picture: MARK JESSER

BIG IDEA: Belvoir Special School's Jimmy Rebuffo, 16, Principal Jamie Gay, Brandyn Larkins, 18, and Liam Knight, 17, where a skills building will go up. Picture: MARK JESSER

When Belvoir Special School opened, principal Jamie Gay wanted to introduce a “life skills house” that would give his students independence long after they left the school grounds for the final time.

Now, he hopes that facility will become a reality with the backing of four Rotary Clubs and support of the Border community.

“In 2014 we looked at the opportunity to have a life skills house on site,” he said.

“The original idea came from Ballarat Special School – when we were down there we saw a house being used for a respite and through the day for life skills.

“We all know teaching kids skills is better done in a practical situations, whether you’re learning about money, measurement or maths skills.

“We can set that up within a classroom but it’s not the real thing.

“Having that house set-up go makes it easier for kids to be able to replicate that in their own homes.”

Mr Gay said the state government had not been approached for funding and the hope was for the project to be funded completely by the community.

The Belvoir Wodonga, Wodonga Central, Wodonga West and Albury-Wodonga Sunrise rotary clubs have formed a joint committee to fundraise for the project.

A design has been drawn up for a three bedroom house and Border tradespeople and suppliers are being encouraged to pitch in by donating time or materials.

Rotary Club of Belvoir Wodonga committee member Barry Membrey said his club had kicked off the appeal with a $5000 donation and hoped the charity luncheon as part of the Jack Maher Classic would be the next big chunk.

“We hope to grow (proceeds from that event) by 50 per cent this year,” he said.

“We’re looking for a lot of support from the community to buy tickets and donate auction items.

“The overall cost of the life skills house will be in excess of $200,000.

“We believe it will be a facility a class above what’s available anywhere else in Victoria for life skills training.

“I’d invite anybody from the community to come to the school, spend a little time and try not become passionate about it.”

The charity luncheon, with Lauren Jackson to be guest speaker, will happen at the Wodonga Racecourse on Saturday, May 20.

Tickets can be purchased by calling (02) 6056 1214.