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The year ahead ~ 2017!

Suzanna Barry - Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Message from our CEO

I hope you’ve had an enjoyable Christmas and that you are looking forward to the New Year!

I’d like to take the opportunity to thank you for your support in 2016.  Community Living & Respite Services has continued to provide valued services to people with disability and their families over the past twelve months, and your support has been invaluable.

We are planning for another busy and productive year in 2017.  A main focus of this upcoming year will be transitioning to the National Disability Insurance Scheme from May 2017.  We will be working closely with our clients and families to ensure they have the relevant information for their initial NDIS planning meeting.

The first CLRS event for 2017 is the River Gums Fun Run on Saturday January 14.  This is held in conjunction with the Echuca Moama Triathlon Club multi sports weekend. Hosting the event is an opportunity for CLRS to “give back” to the community.  Tickets are $20 for adults and free for children under 15.  Find out more here.

Our 11th Annual Fundraising Dinner will be held at the Moama Bowling Club on February Tuesday 28, 2017.  Our guest speaker this year is Peter FitzSimons.  We have limited tickets remaining and these can be purchased online at All proceeds from the event will go towards the Opening Doors Project.  Book soon to avoid disappointment.

Early in the new year the builder for our Opening Doors Project will be appointed.  This is particularly exciting as so many people have worked very hard to raise funds, knowing that this development will have a positive impact on those who will reside in the home and units in the future.   Building will commence late January, with a planned completion date of September 2017.  Thank you to everyone who continues to support our fundraising for the Opening Doors Project.  

We are expanding our Recyclability Social Enterprise and will be establishing a Tea Rooms/Op Shop in Moama by April 2017.  Thanks to a grant from Murray River Council and the generous support of the community this initiative will provide opportunities for people with disability and other community members to develop skills in retail and hospitality, whist providing valued services to the general public.  Thank you to all who support Recyclability through volunteering, kerbside donations, donating items in the clothing donation bins and shopping at the Op Shop, 4 Percy Street Echuca.

On July 30 2017 we will be participating in Run Melbourne for the 4th year.  Our team, “Johnno’s Run” will be raising funds for the Opening Doors Project, whilst increasing fitness, wellbeing and comradery.  If you would like to set up a fundraising page go to  Further details on registration for the event will be provided in the new year.

All in all, we’re looking forward to a wonderful year ahead, and hope that you continue to share the journey with us.

Happy New Year

Suzanna Barry


A first "santa" experience

Suzanna Barry - Thursday, December 22, 2016
"For some children this was their first photo taken with Santa with genuine gleeful smiles and glittering eyes!"

Community Living & Respite Services Inc. recently partnered with Campaspe Regional Library to offer children on the autism spectrum the opportunity have their photo taken with Santa through a Pilot of Echuca’s Sensitive Santa program. This enabled 6 children on the autism spectrum to have a photo with Santa without the common hustle and bustle and sensory overload. 

Half hour time slots meant no queues or waiting, and the child/children were photographed with Santa in an autism-friendly environment with the entire family. The sensory friendly environment provided a low stress, quiet surrounding creating an ideal setting. Each family provided information prior, ensuring Santa had knowledge of the child’s area of interest so that the environment could contain items of high interest. All families received a USB of photographs showing the “journey from wariness to inclusion”. 

The pilot was highly successful and CLRS & Campaspe Regional Library look forward to planning a full program in 2017.

Celebrating Community Philanthropy & Partnerships Week

Suzanna Barry - Thursday, December 08, 2016

Our final newsletter for 2016 has been released.  It has been a busy and productive year, and once again Community Living & Respite Services Inc. has appreciated the support of our community.

This past year our Opening Doors Ambassadors have worked very hard to raise the awareness of CLRS and our Opening Doors Project.  We are delighted to share a video showcasing their passion and commitment, as part of the Community Philanthropy and Partnerships Week Celebration.

Read the newsletter here

Best wishes

Suzanna Barry


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