It's taken a little longer than planned, but KidzWish Place is one step closer to completion with the first slab now laid on the multi-million dollar facility.
It's been over two years since the first sod was turned at the Flinders site to mark the start of construction, which was expected to be finished in mid-2018.
"There's always going to be a few hiccups when you're a charity looking to the community to help you build a facility," executive director Chris Beaven said.
"We've been lucky to get a long lease from Shellharbour Council, and the $1.5 million contribution from the NSW Government announced late last year has got us back on track.
"We're now expecting the facility to be open early in 2020, and it will triple the number of kids we support who are sick, disadvantaged or have a disability - giving them access to vital therapy services, and to our music, dance and sports programs."
Kids like Kanahooka's Leo Lagana - a primordial dwarf - whose family has received invaluable support from KidzWish. Leo, who just turned 19 and stands 93cm tall, continues to be a proud ambassador for the charity.
His mother Pauline said the new facility would help even more local families: "It's very important because we all feel very alone in our child's disability until we come together in a place like this".
Kiama MP Gareth Ward and Shellharbour Mayor Marianne Saliba joined Leo in marking the construction milestone, by imprinting their hands in concrete at the site on Monday.
"The NSW Government originally provided a $250,000 grant for this project, and announced a further $1.5 million at the KidzWish ball in November," Mr Ward, Minister for Families, Communities and Disability Services, said.
"Every dollar that people provide to KidzWish supports vulnerable children here in the Illawarra. Charity starts at home and we're very proud of the work KidzWish does in this region."
Ms Saliba said the new facility would benefit many local families in the area.
"This is community land, it belongs to the people of Shellharbour," she said.
"Council has agreed to enter into a long-term lease arrangement with KidzWish to build the facility it needs to cater for the increased demand for the services it provides.
"We are proud to support the organisations that operate in our city and it's great to see it finally start to come up and out of the ground."
Ms Beaven also thanked the community members and local businesses who have pitched in to raise the funds needed for the project - estimated to be around $6 million in total. The Federal Government has also supplied funding.
She also gave thanks to local developer TDK Corporations.