JULIE Landers of Kaponga is one of a number of dedicated Taranaki parents who care for and support a young adult with a high level of special need.
Julie's son, Mitchell (17) requires full-time care, attention and support and, while Julie and her friends and family are more than happy to take care of him, they appreciate how important it is for him to be as independent as he can be.
"There are families in Taranaki with mentally and physically disabled young children and teenagers that have been told that in three to five years time, when their young people require a stimulating and rewarding day service and residential care, there will be no facility for anywhere in the region for them," says Julie.
"These families live with the insecurity of not knowing what will happen to their children without total residential care when they need it."
With this in mind, Julie and a group of other carers decided to establish the Lantern House Trust.
"The Lantern House Trust have decided to turn this devastating negative knowledge into something positive, by not accepting this prediction and doing something about it themselves; their goal being to build a residential home for these young people in need.
Within 3-5 years the trust wants to try and secure land and build a purpose-built home that will be open to the initial four young people who need it, and available for many, many children in years to come.
"It will not be privately owned, but run through a trust for the people of Taranaki."
Housing three to four children at one time, full time, with a respite and day service available for many more, Lantern House will be as stimulating and sociable as possible, and an enjoyable place to be and to visit - not only for the children but for the families and the staff.
"We know to achieve this will take a huge amount of work and commitment but if we do not try to achieve it these children will grow up and their families will live with uncertainty forever.
Obviously, to achieve its aims, those behind the Lantern House Trust have to rely on their own fundraising. Among the many ideas they have had to raise money is a Bull Calf / Cull Cow scheme.
"We have seen this kind of fundraising work with other organisations and we think it will continue to appeal to Central Taranaki people.
"One way it works is that a family purchase a bull calf that they rear on their farm or lifestyle block until it's around 100kg. They then sell it at the sales in November and December and the proceeds from the sale go to the trust.
"Alternatively, a cow that is no longer milking (a cull cow) gets sent to the freezing works, and the proceeds from that go to the trust."
If successful, the trust hopes to make this an annual event.
If you would like to help Julie and the trust out, why not give her a call on 06 764 6096.