THE spirit of the Delacombe Community House is destined to live on, thanks to the outstanding generosity of a little-known child welfare advocate.
Shane Dorney, founder of the JFD Foundation, purchased the former community house at auction on Saturday with money out of his own pocket.
Although he does not have any definite plans for the building, Mr Dorney says he is “hell-bent” on ensuring it remains a place that will benefit those most in need.
The Leawarra Crescent community house closed down two months ago after its funding was pulled by the state government.
It had been serving vulnerable families for six years.
Now Mr Dorney owns the building and has promised it will always remain a sanctuary for disadvantaged families.
“I followed the story when the community house shut down and it really did make me feel sad,” he said.
“I wanted to do something to help but I didn’t know how. I just want to make some sort of a difference.
“There’s too many kids that aren’t getting fed in Ballarat and people don’t realise it.”
The farmer has been doing his utmost to help needy kids for 10 years, but only registered the JFD Foundation earlier this year.
Last year alone, Mr Dorney was able to raise enough money to supply Christmas lunch to more than 60 families and 100 children that would otherwise have gone without.
Throughout the year he was able to assist more than 200 children in need.
Now, with a team of nine other volunteers, he has sacrificed his own bank balance to give disadvantaged children a better life.
“The main aim is for two years down the track to be able to build a six to eight bedroom home where families might even be able to live,” the 43-year-old said.
The JFD Foundation is named after Mr Dorney’s father – John Francis Dorney.
Mr Dorney said he was open to suggestion as to exactly what could be done with the house, but was adamant that it would remain a hub for the Delacombe community.
“It’s there forever now because we own it and nothing can change that. Funding can’t be cut and it will always be there,” he said.
Anybody with suggestions as to what can be done with the building or who wants to donate to the JFD Foundation can visit jfdfoundation.com.