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Former school put to good use


The transformation of a former Catholic school at Brighton into an arts hub and support services for people with disability has been a godsend for the Garton family.

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The main building has been home to Tutti Arts since March 2020 after St Teresa’s Primary School students relocated to the new McAuley Community School at Hove.

St Ann’s parishioners Bev and Paul Garton have had a long association with Catholic education through their four sons and seven adopted children with special needs.

Two of their daughters, Samantha and Lauren, attend the Tutti Arts Centre which has recently undergone further development including installing a lift, accessible bathroom and a wall mural by two Aboriginal artists.

Samantha, who has Spina Bifida, has been involved in the Tutti choir since she was 12 and the visual arts program for a number of years. She is now able to use the new lift to access the spacious, light-filled art studio on the second level. Lauren has Down syndrome and participates in Tutti’s visual arts program twice a week.

Five of the Gartons’ adult children with disability, including Samantha and Lauren, are under the support of not-for-profit NDIS provider Access4U, which recently began renting what was the administration wing of the former school.

Mr Garton said it was great to have a “one-point drop off”.

“We can take Sammy and Lauren to Tutti while we go next door to see our support coordinator, it works so well,” he said.

The support coordinator helps the family navigate the NDIS which, Mrs Garton said, was “quite complicated”.

“We meet with a planner and from there work out a plan for their therapy, staffing of carers, making sure everything that has been funded happens – physio, occupational therapy, they need different things for their particular disability,” she explained.

“With five children (accessing NDIS), we couldn’t do it without a support coordinator.

“And it’s great to see the school being used for something that helps the community.”

Gai Dawe, senior disability manager with Access4U, said there was a lot of “synergy” between the organisation and Tutti, as well as with the adjacent Brighton parish.

“There is certainly cross-over in the people we are serving,” she said.

Access4U has three other sites in Adelaide and employs more than 350 people.

Mrs Dawe said the organisation had been looking for offices in Brighton where it had a large number of clients and “snapped up” the office site when it was advertised for rent earlier this year.

Stage two of the Tutti Arts Centre works was completed in August and officially opened in October at an event attended by Premier Steven Marshall and local MP Nicolle Flint.

“It’s fantastic to see our vision for the Tutti Arts Centre being realised,” said Tutti Arts general manager Linda Williams.

“Along with the access improvements, Tutti artists and staff are using their talent to bring a creative aesthetic to the site. It feels like a great fit with the local community.”

The centre is used by 200 artists with disability each week.


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