When Olympia Raptis experienced a health issue with her lower back and sciatica, she couldn’t attend a family funeral wake due to a lack of disability access at Brunswick’s St Vasilios Church hall.

The hall has no ramp or lift but rather just two flights of stairs, and she could not get up there with restricted mobility and reliance on a four-wheel frame.

Now Olympia is heading a project with Parish of St Vasilios Elderly Inc to install a lift at the church hall to make it accessible.

She told Neos Kosmos that it was only then that she really felt and understood the importance and her lack of awareness for the need for accessibility.

They hope to have an elevator in 2025-26. Photo: Supplied

“I’ve made a promise to make a change and provide accessibility for all community members to be able to access our church hall, regardless of their mobility dysfunction, parents with a pram, wheelchair access…” she said.

“I am very grateful for the support and assistance from both priests at St Vasilios Church, Merri-Bek Council for their grant opportunity, Archdiocese for their support and assistance and the strong community support and participation to raise funds for this project to be achieved.

“I still have a long way to go with raising the required funds, but I believe that I will be able to make this much needed change with everyone’s support and assistance.”

There is currently a petition on Change.org or you can contact St Vasilios Brunswick Seniors Group at 93877693, Fr Efrem 0490378215 or email at stvasilioseniors@gmail.com