When something is born from a good intention, a plan with purpose, the legacy it leaves can profoundly impact a person, a community and champion a cause for generations to come. Garden Village founded such a cause back in 1979. They had a vision for the local community and saw a need for an environment where our community could feel secure, comfortable and cared for. From this vision, Garden Village Port Macquarie was established and has held an important place in the local community ever since.
From its inception as a not-for-profit retirement living complex, Garden Village has grown to encompass an entire community of seniors with many different needs and desires. The 8 acre parcel of land in the heart of Port Macquarie includes a 142 bed aged care facility across three different sites and a retirement community accommodating over 200 residents, soon to become 280 residents, with the completion of a new vertical retirement apartment complex, The Cascades, due later this year.
General Manager Craig Wearne says he was drawn to the organisation based on the values that shone through when he was first introduced to staff and the Board last year.
“There was a real sense of warmth and compassion from everyone who spoke about Garden Village. I could feel it as soon as I entered the building – residents’ smiling faces and clearly, a team that cared about a cause.”
Craig joined Garden Village in September last year, after relocating from Sydney with his family. Heading up the 240 strong workforce, he is motivated to continue building on the solid foundation of care established over many years.
“There is a lot of activity in the retirement living sector, and it is important to me that the organisation I work in aligns with my personal values – I definitely get this with Garden Village. It stands out in Port Macquarie as a dependable and community based organisation. This is something I want to nurture and see grow, and it is clear to me that we can continue to achieve this with the support of our dedicated staff.”
The retirement and aged care community at Garden Village are supported by a network of staff, services and facilities. Operations Manager Cassie Simadas says the number one reason people choose Garden Village is because of the delivery of lifestyle and extra support services when and how they need them.
“Having a co-located retirement village and age care facility enables us to have a strong network of staff who can work across all sections of the organisation. This means more support for our retirement community and an easy transition to extra care if a resident requires it.”
Cassie, echoes Craig’s sentiment regarding the values of Garden Village.
“I have worked for other not-for-profit organisations, and this is what initially attracted me to Garden Village. However, it was that intangible ‘feeling’ or ‘vibe’ I experienced when I came to the site that made me think, I need to be a part of this community.”
The Board of Directors at Garden Village do not lose sight of the importance in maintaining this feeling within the community. The staff, services, facilities and infrastructure are all built upon this vision at the forefront of their minds.
The retirement village itself consists of 168 units and 52 apartments currently under construction. Garden Village’s site is an enviable location at the top end of Hastings River Drive, adjacent to Gordon St and Findlay Ave.
Local conveniences like Settlement City, The Growers Market and The Medical and Dental Centre are only minutes away by car, bus, scooter or foot. The facility itself boasts a café, large community centre, chapel, convenience store, hairdresser, beautician, indoor heated pool, gymnasium, craft room, men’s shed and library. The new complex, The Cascades, will bring with it a restaurant, communal lounge, clinic rooms and large gym, among other amenities.
A wellness centre or clinic offers a friendly face to share any health concerns residents may have. Staff host a weekly clinic, where residents can attend for a wellness check and have their blood pressure taken, or drop in at any time for advice or support in managing a wound dressing or medication.
Other services include meals, cleaning, laundry and administrative assistance.
Vikki Dobbyns, Director of Care, says it gives residents peace of mind knowing there is support available when they need it.
“We can provide our residents as much or as little assistance as they require – anything from companionship visits to grocery shopping, to complicated medication management. Just knowing they can access these services offers comfort to both residents and their loved ones.”
Peace of mind is a common theme among the residents at Garden Village. Long term resident Beryl Ward says she finds comfort in seeing so many friendly faces around the village.
“There is always someone to talk to, at the coffee shop, at reception or bumping into a maintenance man as you walk through the village. I feel safe knowing there is always someone around.”
As it leads into its 40th year, Garden Village continues to grow, innovate and reaffirm its ongoing commitment to a shared vision for the community – one of comfort, security and care.