The Antiochian Orthodox community, led by Metropolitan Basilios celebrated a milestone in the construction of their new 80-bed aged care project in Punchbowl last week.

An event to mark the start of construction including a Blessing and sod-turning ceremony led by Archbishop Basilios was held on Tuesday and was attended by the NSW Minister for Multiculturalism, the Hon. Geoff Lee, local MPs and Canterbury Bankstown Mayor Khal Asfour, Rev. Clergy and members of Antiochian Community and Trustees.

The project is an initiative of the Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese to deliver care and support for ageing members of the community with a state-of-the-art aged care centre adjacent to the St Nicholas Church in Punchbowl.

The project will see the construction of the 80-bed facility which is designed to provide the highest standard of attention and loving support for those needing care.

His Eminence Basilios conducted the blessing and acknowledged the vital contribution of the NSW Government and the leadership role of Antiochian Care to deliver this project. “This project is a major milestone for our community and will be a beacon of care and loving support to those in need.” His Eminence said.

The archbishop also praised the strong support and contribution to the success of the project by Deicorp who is constructing and project managing the facility.

“We acknowledge the NSW Government and our Antiochian community who have been so generous in supporting this vital project.”

The importance of the project was recognised by the NSW Government, Minister Lee said:

“Aged care is especially important now. By 2031, 25% of the population will be over the age of 60. Aged care is becoming increasingly difficult. When we see the reports of the royal commission into aged care, we see that new facilities and good facilities are required, and especially for the Antiochian community, a long-standing established community, your parishes, and your people are getting older and they will require those aged care facilities, especially if they are catering for the cultural-specific requirements that older people have. As people get older, they tend to revert to their own native language that they speak or eat the same food or associate with the same people. So, I think this facility fills a vital hole. Hopefully, it will not be the last one. Hopefully, you will continue. Start at 80 and then we look forward to seeing you growing your aged care facilities because in the future we are going to need far more aged care whether people stay at home or come into a centre like this”.