Merton Living Double Celebration

Merton Living Double Celebration

Merton Living had a double celebration on Saturday 27th October.  The first was to celebrate the completion of our Merton Village development, with our second Official Opening!  That's a bit cheeky isn't it?!  The original opening of the first six units was held on 30th November 2002.  Who would have dreamed that 16 years later, we would be celebrating the completion of 46 independent living units in Merton Village!  A the original opening John Pearce was sitting in the Chairman seat, and this time he had the honour of Opening the Village with Robyn Wolfgang, our long serving Secretary.  John developed the plans for Merton village and worked closely with Council for the whole development.  Robyn has also been a very active member of our Board since 1997, taking interest in achieving better outcomes for our services.  Many of the improvements over the years have been a credit to Robyn.  We also wanted to recognise other people who had involvement in the Merton Village development over the years.  It was lovely to welcome back Michael Scarf and Lawrie Ayres.  They had such great stories!

you can't have a special event without a cake, and boy did we get a cake!  It must have been tasty though, as it was very quickly enjoyed, with just a few pieces left to share with the residents of Merton Court.  To cut the cake we invited the only original resident of the first six units, Barbara Brack, and the residents to move into the last units built, June Jennison and Pat Barry.  A lovely way to join together the two sites of Merton Village.
Thank you to Father John Tobin for blessing our Village.  Reverend Jody Zammit, I am sure blessed it from afar!  Thank you to Muswellbrook Shire Mayor, Martin Rush, for your kind words both at the event and afterwards on social media.
It was wonderful to see former Board members come back to help us celebrate.  We were very keen to honour their involvement too, and their names are on the plaque on the small sandstone rock from Merton Homestead.  The larger rock slab is Wollombi sandstone.
The second very exciting unveiling of the day, was a very special presentation to Merton Court, from Mangoola Open Cut - Glencore.  Merton Court is now the proud owner of a Honda Odyssey that can take standard and motorised wheelchairs.  The staff of Merton Court, and I am sure the residents too, have been dreaming of a vehicle which is able to transport all of our residents on outings.  Until now we have had a vehicle that could carry a small wheelchair via its hydraulic lift into the van.  As the resident profile changed and grew, there were more and more residents unable to be put into the van.  So, finally about 12 months ago, the Board resolved to obtain a suitable vehicle.  Care Supervisors, Joanne Chapman and Meaghan Feringa, along with Manager Shani Mitchell, headed off to a community care transport expo in Pokolbin.  All three managed not to be distracted by the vineyards, and were excited to see the advances in technology and options for modifying a vehicle suitable for aged care.  There were three different vehicles on display, and two of those were chosen to test drive with our residents at a later date.  From there the decision was easy, as the Honda Odyssey was clearly the easiest for the staff and residents to navigate and fit into.  Next, came the hard part - obtaining funding.  The cost of the purchase of the vehicle, and then the modification came to about $80,000, which is a significant expense for a small 17 bed residential aged care facility.  However, it really wasn't that hard, as once again we made a call to our Partners in Care, Tony and Nathan from Mangoola Open Cut.  In their roles at Glencore, they have improved the care of the residents and staff of Merton Court immensely, first with the purchase of two Vendlets - a patient turning system valued at about $16,000, second with the Vocera communication system which cost about $50,000 to install, which they partnered with Muswellbrook Shire council to deliver.  Now, we have a Honda Odyssey, which I am sure the residents will appreciate even more - let's face it, it is much mroe fun to have a vehicle to take them out to all the interesting places in the district.  Thanks also must go to Saunders Motors in Scone, for working with us to deliver the vehicle in the timeframe of funding accessibility and also for unveling on the weekend.  The staff at Muswellbrook Signs also worked back on Friday afternoon to complete signage for the official handover.
We have been buoyed by the most complimentary feedback of our Merton Village, and of the acquisition of the special vehicle for Merton Court.  The success of the celebration was due to the hard work of many people.  David Roe, our Chairman, worked tirelessly to put the program together, and pay respect to all of those involved in the Merton Village development.  Linda Curry, our Village & Finance Manager, ensured our village was in tip top shape.  We received so many compliments for the gardens, which we must pass on to Pauline Sykes.  Also, to our maintenance boys who also worked hard on the grounds.  Keith, Kurtis, John and Gavin (filling in during September) who also took some photos for us on the day.  I am sure young Harvey played an important role too!  Keith also called on his colleagues from the Lions Club to provide shelter and seating for us.  The Rotary Club of Denman also did a great job on the BBQ.  Thankyou to the residents and volunteers who made the slices, which were apparently a taste sensation!  Thank you to the Muswellbrook Conservatorium of Music bank - featuring a couple of Denman locals - for playing beautiful music for us and setting the scene for a most enjoyable day.  Last, buty not least, thank you to our residents of Merton Village for creating such a wonderful and welcoming community within a community!  You also contributed greatly to the colour of the day with your own personal touches to the gardens.
If you couldn't make it on the day, you are more than welcome to come and have a look through.  We do have three units available at the moment, hoping someone will make them home.
your partners in care

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