New St John’s own­ers will re­spect links

...and St John’s strong links to com­mu­nity

Wangaratta Chronicle - - Front Page - BY SI­MONE KER­WIN sker­[email protected] ne­me­

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

PHOTO: Mel Guy

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.

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