PETITION: Save Laura Fergusson Rehabilitation
“If Laura Fergusson Rehabilitation didn’t exist, I would have been put in a rest home at 19” - Sophia Malthus.
Please sign this petition to stop the secret sale of the Auckland Laura Fergusson Rehabilitation facility and land. Show the Government we want it to step in and take action.
“The Laura Fergusson Rehabilitation Centre was my home for 9 months after a workplace accident in 2016. I broke my neck resulting in a high level spinal cord injury, leaving me 87% physically impaired, with no movement from my collar bone down.
“My life completely changed. I had to learn how to eat again, use a wheelchair and get used to a completely new way of living. Understanding my new situation, waiting for my health to stabilise, and regaining my confidence to be back in the community, would have been impossible without Laura Fergusson Rehab.
“I am so grateful the charity was there to support me and my family after my life changing accident.”
Last year, the Board, chaired by Chris O'Brien, quietly shut down the Auckland Laura Fergusson Rehabilitation Centre.
It closed the residential, respite and rehab facilities, as well as the gym and specialist pool. Thousands of people with disabilities used it annually for Parkinson and MS classes, stroke programmes, neurological rehab, pulmonary rehab. It also had an active gym membership of elderly and disabled.
The disabled community who happily lived there were moved, many of them to rest homes ill-equipped to support them.
Now the Board is quietly selling the Great South Road, Epsom land.
“If I had my accident today, I would be put in a rest home with old people, and without all the specialist physiotherapy and appropriate rehabilitation that I had access to in one place at Laura Fergusson.
I am campaigning to keep this amazing charity going so that other young people with disabilities don’t end up in rest homes.”
Please sign our petition.
None of us know when a work injury, car accident, or stroke could leave us or a loved one needing the wonderful rehab that Laura Fergusson offered.
Auckland and New Zealand desperately need this central location for disabled people. We need the Government to step in.
Why is this important?
• It housed a specialist hydrotherapy pool with wheelchair access and a gym built with funds from Government, Rotary and fundraising by the community.
• It was a vital respite for families who knew their disabled children would be well cared for.
• It was the ONLY central location for disabled people and their families in Auckland. Access to bus and train routes are important for family visits, community connections and independence, without the need for booking ‘mobility’ taxis.
• The Epsom property had 45 purpose-built units, some housing intellectually disabled people who lived there permanently and are now in rest homes while the units sit empty.
This is not good enough. We must stop the sale.
• The Board are trying to push through a secret sale of the land and assets, without input and discussion from the disabled and wider Auckland communities.
• They have refused membership to people who want to debate and discuss the future of the centre.
• The Board rejected meetings with Dr Ashley Bloomfield to explore how it can be kept open.
• Former residents of all ages are now living in tiny rooms in rest homes and dementia units.
• Young adults are being offered aged-care facilities as their only rehab and respite options.
So please sign our petition.
The Government needs to get involved, seek to take over the site, fix the run-down facilities and address the funding, so that Lady Fergusson’s vision and the millions raised over many years can continue to give young adults living with disabilities a better future than aged care.
Young people living with a disability deserve the best possible rehab in a transitional home, like the Laura Fergusson Rehabilitation Centre.
The Laura Fergusson Trust
The Laura Fergusson Trust was set up in the late 1960s after the Governor-General's wife, Lady Fergusson, became concerned about young adults with disabilities living in aged care and geriatric hospitals, depriving them of dignity and control over their lives.
Lady Fergusson had a special message to parents of disabled children - the trust would safeguard their children's future, so that they would be cared for when their parents were no longer able to.
The Trust Board is chaired by Chris O’Brien (17 years active), Simon Barclay, John Magness, Shelley Hiha, Alan Hooker, Richard Glenn, Rob Small, and former CEO, Heather McLeish.
They have refused to release the PWC report that they spent half a million dollars on. They have rejected good people for membership and won’t discuss how to save the facility.