IT was their home away from home, a place where they could be creative and work towards a yearly exhibition.
But an early morning fire has not only destroyed a Mayfield West community centre, it has devastated the group of 25 people who used it.
Gone with the flames are a range of art works that were due to be part of an exhibition next month, which doubles as both a chance for them to show their skills and an opportunity to raise funds to pay for materials for the following years.
‘‘It was their home away from home,’’ Samaritans chief executive officer Cec Shevels said. ‘‘We need to try and find them another home as soon as we can.’’
The workshop had been run by the Samaritans for the group of disabled artists every weekend for years.
They now need to quickly find another building with full wheelchair access.
‘‘It is very important to them and their families – if they cannot go, then their families cannot leave home either,’’ Mr Shevels said.
‘‘There were no staff or people we support inside the centre at the time of the fire and as a result, no one was injured.
‘‘Estimated damages at this point are at $100,000. We hope to recoup half through insurance but that leaves us at a loss of $50,000.’’
Police believe the fire was caused by an electrical fault.
The Samaritans are now working on trying to still hold an art exhibition next month.
Anyone wishing to support this creative hub for locals with disabilities and help Samaritans rebuild this service can donate online at samaritans.org.au or by calling 49607100.