Greenacres’ contemporary new Community Life and Leisure Centre is now officially opened and has been called Preston Place in honour of our beloved former CEO and Life Member, Neil Preston OAM, who passed away suddenly in October.

Eight members of Neil’s family, as well as local politicians, participants and supporters of Greenacres celebrated the opening with the plaque being revealed by Shellharbour City Mayor, Marianne Saliba and Neil’s wife Carol.

Greenacres Chairperson, Richard Young, said the new centre is a reflection of Neil’s innovation and strategic vision as well as his commitment to inclusion for people with disability.

Neil was unwaveringly dedicated to the people we support, Richard said.

It didn’t matter how busy he was, he always took the time to talk and listen to the people who he believed mattered most.

If he identified an unmet need, he would work tirelessly until he found a solution which meant during his 16 years at Greenacres, he developed many ground-breaking programs.

He also had this incredible energy and enthusiasm for life, so as it is dedicated to his memory, Preston Place will be an inclusive, supportive space to learn, make new friends and especially to have fun.

Greenacres General Manager Person Centred Operations, Grant Vukasinovic, said the Centre has been designed to not only take care of the participant’s physical needs but also their emotional and social well-being.

Preston Place will be a welcoming, relaxing space that can be a home away from home for our participants, Grant said.

With socialising in mind, our centre has been created with a theatre room which can also be a music and performance space, plenty of areas to relax and chat with friends and an outdoor patio plus areas for BBQs.

Most importantly, Preston Place has a dedicated sensory room for those participants who need a break from their activity and take some time to relax and recharge.

Careful thought and research also went into the location of Preston Place. Participants will be well placed to visit Lake Illawarra for walks and bike rides, can easily access public transport and will be able to enjoy the shops and cafes at Warilla Grove and Stockland Shellharbour.

Preston Place is currently being enjoyed by 30 participants and 10 staff but there is definitely space to grow as the service adapts to the needs and goals of people with disability in the Shellharbour community.