Conference Centre for Rathmines – Article in LAKES MAIL

WHEN it was operating, the Don Geddes Catalina Memorial Nursing Home at Rathmines was highly valued by the local community.

The building’s new owner wants to continue that link.

Now known as the Catalina Conference Centre, the building was recently bought by Disability Life Enrichment, a charity committed to improving the quality of life for people with disabilities.

Disability Life Enrichment founder David Hagen grew up in the region and knows the area well.

He said his organisation wants to provide opportunities for people with disabilities to engage with society and feel a sense of community.

‘‘When I saw the building, I wanted to turn it into a space that benefited the community,’’ Mr Hagen said.

The facility is available for use as a retreat or for workshops by groups who work with people with disabilities.

‘‘It’s ideal for social activities that lift the spirit and make them feel like someone cares,’’ Mr Hagen said.

The Catalina Conference Centre is not exclusively for the use of disabled groups, Mr Hagen said.

‘‘We have all the facilities needed to host school or church camp groups and small to medium conferences and business retreats,’’ he said.

Mr Hagen hopes to have the Catalina Conference Centre up and running soon.

There had been calls from the community for Lake Macquarie City Council to purchase the nursing home and return the site to the public, but those calls were never acted upon.

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