New St John’s owners will respect links
...and St John’s strong links to community
MAINTAINING close links with the local community will be central to Respect Aged Care’s move to St John’s Village, according to managing director Jason Binder.
The Tasmanian-based aged care provider finalised its purchase of the Williams Road aged care home and retirement living units in late December, following a two year search by the Anglican Diocese of Wangaratta for a new owner.
Respect Aged Care, a notfor-profit organisation which operates 10 facilities in Tasmania and Victoria, will take ownership of the facility from Monday, January 14.
The sale encompasses the site’s 146 bed residential care home, 30 self-care units, and 153 units in The Terrace.
Mr Binder has been in Wangaratta this week in the lead-up to the changeover, and said he had enjoyed the chance to meet staff and residents, and see more of the rural city.
“I love the city, it reminds me a lot of home in Renmark (South Australia),” he said.
“St John’s is a wonderful community asset, and we are excited about making sure it flourishes.”
Mr Binder said Respect’s main objective was to “promote care in an environment of respect, values and belonging”.
“We were founded by a group of Christian businessmen in 1964, led by a Methodist man from Tasmania, Billy Purton, and I have a photo of him on my wall to remind me I’m only temporary here, that there was a lot of work done before me,” he said.
Honouring Wangaratta’s past will also be a key consideration for the new owners of the 50 year old St John’s Village, and that includes retaining its name.
“The St John’s name will stay, but the facility will be re-branded to Respect Aged Care,” Mr Binder said.
“We know that it doesn’t matter what name you put on it, everybody will call it St John’s, so the name will stay, and it’s important to keep that history and heritage.
“It will also keep its Anglican links – the chapel is a sanctioned Anglican building, though it is non-denominational, and the diocese will remain here indefinitely; we have set the date of 24 months for the base to stay here, but unless they need to leave, it could be longer.
“We’re a regional provider, and we know how to work with a community, and the importance of consulting with people to get their ideas.
“You don’t just make arbitrary decisions and expect the community not to get up in arms.”
Mr Binder said Respect would conduct workshops to obtain ideas from the facility’s existing 170 staff members to guide its future plans.
He said no decision had been made at this stage about staff numbers going forward, but this would be confirmed over the next three weeks.
“If there are any changes, we will be consulting with staff about those changes – there will be no surprises,” he said.
“There will also be no changes to contracts, fees or charges for residents.”
Mr Binder will be based in Wangaratta for the first two to three months of Respect’s operation of St John’s.
“You can’t guide things in a new direction from behind a desk; I know you’ve got to be on the ground and talking to people,” he said.
“We’ll work with people to reassure them about who we are.
“You can’t come in and put your culture on the place – the culture here has developed over 50 years.
“Instead, we need to take what we know works, and combine it with what is already here.”
The St John’s name will stay, but the facility will be re-branded to Respect Aged Care. - JASON BINDER
FEELS LIKE HOME: Jason Binder, managing director of Respect Aged Care, which has purchased St John’s Village from the Anglican Diocese of Wangaratta, is looking forward to the group’s involvement with the local community.