Young adults living with incurable illnesses will have access to respite care when Australia’s first hospice for young people opens on Sydney’s northern beaches next year.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian together with major funders of the project, two of Australia’s leading philanthropists Kay and Greg Poche, today turned the first sods of soil at the site of the adolescent and young adult hospice, which will provide palliative care for 15 to 24-year-olds and their families.

The facility is the first of its kind in Australia, and will lead the way for similar facilities across the country for young people, who are currently forced to seek respite care in aged care facilities.

The facility cannot come soon enough. Young adolescents are over the age of 18, are currently no longer able to use the Bear Cottage paediatric respite facility.

The $19.5 million development is the result of combined state and federal government funding, community fundraising and philanthropy, supported by a very generous contribution from Kay Van Norton Poche and her husband Greg Poche.

Ms Van Norton Poche, who has supported Bear Cottage for many years, decided to back the project after learning young people were often seeking respite in nursing homes and rehabilitation centres.

“I just thought, we’re better than that. Dignity begins with life, and each life has it. So let’s give it to people that we can, when we can,” she said.

Member for Manly James Griffin said the facility would provide care for young people across NSW, including from rural and regional areas.

“This is a wonderful example of what happens when government, community and philanthropy come together to unite behind a single cause,” he said.

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