Bambara was a 50-bed bush setting on five acres of land situated at Mount Disappointment, approximately 80 kilometres north of Melbourne that Westcare has operated and managed since 2003 with our partners, The Ford Motor Company Australia. Through this partnership, more than 600 Ford employees have worked on the property over the past nine years.
Although Bambara was destroyed during the Black Saturday bushfires of February 9th 2007, Ford contines to provide assistance in our rebuilding strategy. Community groups and regular users of Bambara are keeping a keen eye on our progress this year as the loss impacted on a large portion of our community.
Bambara provided an outdoor experiential learning environment where children, young people, their families and carers could spend time together to begin to heal and build new relationships. It provided an alternative living and learning experiences for young people with high-risk behaviours to get away from the city with a trusted worker with a view to minimising risk-taking behaviour and beginning to explore the reasons for the behaviour. It also provided a work program for young people across a number of trades in consultation with local forestry and regeneration programs and the CFA.
Despite the loss of Bambara in the Black Saturday bushfires, Westcare is committed to rebuilding this majestic bush retreat for out clients and the community. An architect has been engaged and plans are now well under way for the rebuilding to commence later in 2012.