Mental health retreat could be reality near Strathmerton

By Rodney Woods

Mental health is close to Kel Sidebottom's heart and because of this he is looking to raise $1.2 million to buy Red Gum Retreat on Ulupna Island, near Strathmerton, to set up a mental health retreat for farmers.

The Wunghnu resident has always had a dream to build a Garden of Hope, the planned name for his mental health retreat, because of family members who have suffered from the illness.

Mr Sidebottom is hoping the sales from the second edition of his autobiography, One Man's Dream, will see the large monetary target reached but if the books, being sold at $30 each, don't reach the target, he is urging the Federal Government to be involved.

“As the Prime Minister has already stated, the Morrison Government will support mental health projects,” he said.

“I am requesting that his government will consider issuing a government guarantee to the value of $2 million for 12 months to allow us the time to purchase the property."

Mr Sidebottom said Red Gum Retreat was the ideal location.

“The reason I have chosen the Red Gum Retreat is because in a very short time, after the property has been purchased, this project could be earning an income from tourists visiting.”

Any person who has mental health issues will be able to walk around the gardens, while distressed farmers will be able to apply for a two- or three-week respite in the units for free.

Mr Sidebottom hopes Beyond Blue will get involved with classes and provide professional help.

He is giving himself a six-month deadline to raise the money.

To order a book, visit your local Bendigo Bank.