Staff and residents rejoice as Cottage doors to remain open

SUCCESSFUL OPERATIONS TO CONTINUE… From left, The Cottage general manager, Joshua Simm, residents, Jesse Topalis, Shane Baksh and Jayden Wright and assistant manager, Rylee Brawn are pleased that VCAT has approved the continued operations of the residential facility. Photo: Katelyn Morse.

RESIDENTS and staff at The Cottage in Shepparton are rejoicing following a recent decision by VCAT to allow the residential facility to continue operating.

Last year, council voted to close the facility after many objections were received from surrounding residents to the facility and the apparent correct procedures not being followed the facility’s operators in gaining permits prior to opening.

The Cottage general manager, Joshua Simm said, “VCAT has assessed the case to have The Cottage remain open and has decided to allow it with some conditions put forward. The conditions include 24 hour staffing, installing a screen on the back fence and frost on the windows and to create a more detailed management plan.

“What’s happening here and the great results we are seeing is helping to break down the stigma of those recovering from substance abuse.

“We are pleased with this outcome. This is the way forward. We want to look to the future and hope to possibly see 10 more of these facilities open across Victoria over the next five years.”

The Cottage company secretary, Rob Bryant said, “We are grateful for the contributions and those who have continued to support us and we are also grateful to those who objected as it has helped us to better our operations.

“A quote from one of our residents was that the whole issue around addiction is it is 15 percent substance and 85 percent mind, so we are talking about a health issue.”