News & Events

From the CEO – 2017 a year of achievement

December 7, 2017

As I look back on the past year, there is little doubt that this has been a year of achievement on all fronts for the Old Colonists’ Association of Victoria.

 

Early this year we commissioned a Social Return on Investment evaluation of our work in housing and caring for older Victorians. While we are yet to launch the report formally, we now have an independent report that shows that our residents and their families deeply value the safe, secure and affordable housing that we offer, together with the continuum of care.

 

From a dollar perspective, we have learned that for every $1 invested in OCAV, $7.41 of value is created. The result highlights the extraordinary vision OCAV’s founders had almost 150 years ago when they established Rushall Park to look after elderly Victorians whose needs may be a lack of housing, insufficient savings, poor physical health or social isolation.

 

Industry leadership

We have also made great strides in progressing our Vision 2020 and its three platforms for action. The past year, we have taken part in a government roundtable to discuss policy and share lessons about making life for older Victorians more age friendly. We have also made seven submissions to the Australian Law Reform Commission, Productivity Commission, Victorian Government, and Infrastructure Victoria on elder abuse, affordable housing, budgets and older Victorians, and planning. Each submission draws extensively on our track record and knowledge of what older Victorians in need require.

 

Assisting more Victorians

It is this vision that has spurred OCAV to look at how it uses space in existing villages to cater for the 1,000+ strong waiting list.  Work has started on the $14.9 million Leith Park extension and preparatory work is underway on the $11.4 million development at Rushall Park. These are significant milestones in the Association’s history.

 

Our philanthropy program has been strengthened considerably this year, as we reach out to trusts and foundations for funding to improve residents’ wellbeing. Projects funded include the edible garden and upgrade of bathrooms and kitchens at Currie Park, new beds and a pet therapy program at Liscombe House, and putting in defibrillators at Rushall Park and Leith Park.

 

We have also developed a range of initiatives including a palliative care committee and extending wellbeing activities for Liscombe House aged care residents; initiating a partnership with La Trobe, College of Science, Health and Engineering for students; and growing the volunteer base by 13 per cent.

 

A happy, vibrant place to work

It is people who make OCAV and this year residents, volunteers and staff have achieved extraordinary feats: 80-year-old Liscombe House resident Anne Partridge held her first exhibition of free form crochet, Currie Park’s apartments supervisor Pauline Walters was a finalist in the Regional Achievement and Community Awards; and volunteer Mary McClure was awarded Volunteer of the Year by the City of Banyule.

 

Another highlight was the involvement of young people at Rushall Park and Leith Park, and the benefits are clear to see in terms of breaking down stereotypes and forging new friendships. Fitzroy High School’s Year 12 students interviewed Rushall Park residents as part of their Senior VCAL Work Related Skills Unit. A leadership program at Liscombe House involving 12 Year 6 students from the Eltham North school saw students and residents, share skills, information and experiences.

 

All these highlights, and many more, are showcased in our annual report. which you can read here.

 

Of course, none of this could be achieved without the input of our volunteers, Council, staff and above all our supporters. Thank you, and I look forward to sharing more of our successes next year.

 

May I wish you all a happy festive season and a peaceful 2018.

Volunteering is important to Deb, enabling her to contribute in the aged care sector. “I love it when the residents get downright cheeky. I love it when we get a bit too loud with laughing."

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