News & Events

Helping build a special kind of life

May 13, 2016

During National Volunteer Week (9-15 May 2016) OCAV paid tribute to Council member Leslie Wood for her service and commitment to the organisation.

Leslie Wood loves being a part of the Old Colonists’ Association of Victoria Council, because it is the governance structure behind a way of life she wants maintained.

She applied to join the Council seven years ago after completing a research project with OCAV residents and CEO Phillip Wohlers and has stayed because she believes she can contribute to the organization and, most importantly, maintain the vision, which began 146 years ago.

“OCAV is made up of four successful villages. They each have that elusive quality that makes them special communities to live in. I think they are not just places to live, but places to belong,” Leslie said.

“Perhaps that elusive quality at OCAV is the belief that every one of our residents should be treated with dignity and respect, regardless of their financial circumstances or backgrounds. That view is held strongly by members of the Council and the staff.”

“I want to make sure OCAV thrives and I believe I contribute to that rich environment, which is a rewarding feeling.”

Leslie, who has a background in community development and education, is currently Manager, Project Partnerships and Investment at Places Victoria.  She has been involved in many community organisations and ‘blames’ her mother, a long-time and devoted Red Cross volunteer for modeling community service.

While she has many professional skills, it is her belief that ageing Victorians deserve respect and a high quality lifestyle, that has kept her at OCAV.

Serving on a board or council comes with great responsibility, but the OCAV staff and management have ensured a sound business model has been established.

“I believe in this business model and the fact that it contains within it a strong belief in supporting the quality of life of residents,” she said.

Leslie is conscious of the challenge facing organisations like OCAV in providing a good standard of living for Victoria’s fast-growing ageing population. Council members are very conscious of the need to balance growth with the needs of residents.

“We are not about growth at any price, but we know that many Victorians are looking for the sort of life OCAV can offer,” she said.


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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