News & Events

From the CEO

October 4, 2019

It was a wonderful feeling being able to hand over the keys to new residents Lyn and Keith Geer, the first to move into our just opened multi-million dollar apartments in Leith Park.
As you will read in this newsletter, the couple are thrilled to move in and be a part of a community, which they have wanted to join for some time. For them, along with the other new residents, the decision to move rested largely on four factors: security, the OCAV values, a community environment and most importantly, a continuum of care.

It is these values, which I believe will come across strongly over the next two months as we roll out our 150th events across each village. The planning for each event has intensified, as you can imagine. Music, art, theatre and history are all very much a feature of each program, as are the gardens. Our house tours at both Rushall Park and Leith Park sold out within days of being offered, an indication of the demand that exists for safe, affordable housing.

Celebrating 150 years of providing housing and support for older Victorians is no mean feat. But I was reminded when rereading some of the stories on our timeline that challenges have always been around, and the Old Colonists’ Association of Victoria has always risen to the occasion.

One of the challenges we face is to make sure that we support our staff well. Ensuring that OCAV is a happy and vibrant place to live and work is one of our strategic platforms. Not much can happen without a resilient and strong staff, and mental health is integral.

I am delighted that we have partnered with the super fund HESTA which is supporting us to roll out a one-year professional development program for our staff focusing on their wellbeing and mental health. The training support package is a 150th gift to us, and one we value highly.

On another level, we are beginning to plan our response to the Victorian Government’s enquiry into homelessness. This will involve input from some of our residents who were vulnerably housed or homeless before entering one of our villages. We are committed to make as big an impact into this enquiry as possible. It is long overdue, as is a national homelessness strategy.

I am very mindful of George Coppin and the other founders. We have large shoes to fill, and an important mission to achieve. Sadly, the Association is still needed as much today as it was 150 years ago.

Nevertheless it is a very pleasure to be able to use our Sesquicentennial year to honour the past and to look to a robust and creative future.

Sanctuary is how artist Gillian Coates describes her home at Currie Park, OCAV’s village in Euroa. “When I go to Melbourne and I am heading back to Euroa, I can’t wait to get home to the peacefulness of this place. It is like a sanctuary for me."

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