You’ve got to love Ricky Stuart. A decent bloke, a local lad who went to St Eddies and became one of the Raiders from the glory days and came back to find that magic again as coach of the team. He’s also much admired as the man who has turned a disability into a positive pursuit that will benefit many and who expects no more than what he gets from life, his sport and his family where he acknowledges his wife is the one constantly at the coalface for their daughter who is autistic. His family story was a memorable and emotional segment produced by A Current Affair and presented by Leila McKinnon that made us all sit up and take notice of what his family was coping with and perhaps found a reason to support efforts to make living with disabilities a community issue where we could make a difference.
Ricky Stuart House will be built in Chiffley, the floor plan marked out with gaffer tape for the official launch and is the result of a lot of fundraising efforts for the Ricky Stuart Foundation. It will operate for six places for all disabilities and will give families breathing space, time to catch up, enjoy a break and find their normal as respite care is provided with the support of Marymead. The ACT Government has supported the initiative and a very valuable network of other good blokes, businesses and the Raiders - on hand to show they know how to cook a snag and bring a smile to the faces of kids with disabilities - all helped make it happen. We have the invitation from Joy Burch to put it in our diaries for the opening in less than 12 months!
The land was gifted by the ACT Government via Minister for Disabilities Joy Burch with a cool $1 million as well. I always like to think of these gifts as coming from us all as it’s our town, our government and our money that will ultimately benefit our children with disabilities at this respite centre. And what a good piece of design, smart and on trend, that is going to sit well in this space, with in the interim Joy Burch planning for more respite centres.
A mighty big silver sod turner with many helping hands turned the first sod of the project to build Ricky Stuart House.