THIRD TIMES A CHARM: MASP has successfully secured $2.45million in Federal Government funding to construct new headquarters. It was the third time the group has applied for funding under the Building Better Regions Fund. Celebrating the windfall this week was MASP CEO, Gary Simpson, Member for Mildura Peter Crisp, MASP Chair, Greg Leslie, and Member for Mallee Andrew Broad.

By VINNIE RODI

MALLEE Accommodation Support Program (MASP) has proved persistence really does pay off, after successfully securing $2.45million through the Federal Government’s Building Better Regions Fund.

This latest funding round actually marked the third time MASP has applied for funding under the Building Better Regions model, with MASP Chair, Greg Leslie, and CEO, Gary Simpson, barely able to contain their excitement when the news was handed down this week.

The funding will be used to construct new headquarters for the organisation on the corner of Tenth Street and Pine Avenue on land already owned by MASP.

The $4.9million build will be jointly funded by the Federal grant, with MASP also chipping in $2.45million of its own funds.

Dubbed the MASP Service and Community Hub, construction of the two-storey, state-of-the-art facility is expected to begin in the coming months, and be completed by August 2018.

“Currently the site for the new headquarters is home to a former student hostel facility, which has outlived its use,” Mr Leslie said. “We’ve been looking to redevelop and use that site for quite some time.

“The new facility will be purpose-built, allowing for business to occur as usual at our current Langtree Avenue site until we are ready to move in.

“I’m really glad that we’ve been able to make a strong case for this funding. Unfortunately, we see some significant social disadvantage in this region, and there is significant work that we need to do.

“Our current facilities are past their used by date… we’ve simply outgrown them. This funding will enable us to have a nice new facility that is safe for those who come to see us, while also allowing us to keep our staff and provide them with better facilities.

“We also feel that this opens the door to better collaborate with other agencies, as there are so many other stakeholders out there that can contribute to improving our community.”

MASP currently delivers more than 30 programs and a range of services to youth, adults and families across the Mildura region, and has been a constant in Mildura for the past 30 years.

Mr Simpson said new facility would also open the door for MASP to bring new services to our region.

“At MASP alone the demand on our services has increased by 11 percent each year for the past nine years,” he said. “This new facility will be designed to have areas set-up on-site to host groups etc.

“We will also have private consulting suites, activity areas, and introduce new programs around deterring and addressing family violence.”

Federal Member for Mallee Andrew Broad said the project represented the largest amount awarded in the Mallee as part of the latest Building Better Regions funding round.

“I have to say I’m really pleased with this result, as this project was one of my priorities as part of this funding round,” he said. “MASP has a history of identifying needs in the community and addressing them, and they have been doing all of that good work in squashed premises.

“MASP have been in the community for 30 years, and for those years they’ve been rolling up their sleeves and trying to find the answers to some of our communities social problems.”