By Tracey Matthies

WOORAYL Lodge, Leongatha’s only community owned and operated aged care centre, is looking to future-proof its services through a feasibility study for a potential new facility – and they want to hear from locals.
In a forward thinking move, Woorayl Lodge bought land at Boag’s Road, Leongatha a few years ago, presenting the current chief executive and board of directors with a significant decision relating to the location of its future facilities.
The Lodge is now exploring the option of extensively refurbishing its existing buildings or building a new, modern, aged care facility at Boag’s Road.
Either approach will shape the future of aged care in South Gippsland and beyond.
Woorayl Lodge chief executive Shane Jenkins and the board have been working to understand the impacts that changes to the population which will have on the future of aged care in the region and they are now ready to hear from the people via a community survey.
The board has engaged Calm Consulting Group – a Gippsland-based strategy consulting firm to help decide on Woorayl’s future and determine the care and services it needs to offer. Calm Consulting Group are ex-Deloitte and large enterprise consultants with a wealth of business analytics’ and community engagement experience.
Geoff Allan and Ford Davis from Calm Consulting Group said their approach was to consult widely to determine how aged care should look in the shire and surrounds.
“Murmurs of tree-changing city folk flocking to the region to work remotely is becoming the new normal and this brings with it a different set of expectations for future customers of the community-run aged care centre,” Mr Allan said.
“COVID has created an opportunity for us to look at the future demographic changes in and around South Gippsland Shire to make sure the future services remain intact and connected to community needs.
“We’re speaking to other providers and councils in the connecting areas with a view of sharing data and information that can be used to inform these important decisions. This will ensure future infrastructure and services remain viable and sustainable and continue to serve the community well as Woorayl has for the last 60 years.”
Mr Allan said the information gathered via the survey would “inform decisions around a potential major aged care facility redevelopment in the Leongatha township”.
The community consultation initiative Woorayl Lodge is undertaking will also provide valuable input into private businesses, as well as local, state and federal governments on the future provision of services that support older citizens in Gippsland region and beyond.
He described the survey as a unique opportunity to develop region-specific data and information that could be used to forecast what aged care could look like in future Gippsland communities.
Mr Allan said there was major interest in the output of the survey from members of positive ageing groups across MAV (Municipal Association of Victoria), South Gippsland and Bass Coast Shire Councils, and health services in surrounding regions.
The survey will be available online at calmconsultinggroup.com/future-of-aged-care-survey-2020 for two weeks between Wednesday, October 21 and Wednesday, November 4. Alternatively, interested people can contact Mr Allan directly by phoning 0410 038 468 or emailing geoff@calmconsultinggroup.com.