It is a classic example of community
partnering; a project generated from
within the community.
In the early 2000s, Diane Wright, a local family and bereavement counsellor
who watched families struggle to care for loved ones at home, mobilised a
local working group of like-minded people.
Determined to offer alternative options for end-of-life care across Geelong,
the group began working toward a common goal – to set up a community
residential palliative respite service in Geelong – with a priority on provision
of short-term palliative respite. In response to the growing service gap and
demand from the wider Geelong community for home style end-of-life care
options, the Anam Cara model was born.
This vision was shared with local businesses, healthcare providers,
professionals, philanthropists, and government. In-principle support was
received from the major health providers in Geelong. St John of God Hospital
committed to cover the cost of meals, and still do so today.
With a peppercorn lease kindly offered by St Mary’s Catholic Parish, the first
specialised residential palliative respite service in the region opened in 2007
in the St Mary’s Basilica Presbytery building in Myers St. Use of the building
was donated by The Archdiocese of Melbourne following the vision of Father
Kevin Dillon who gave up his home to establish Anam Cara.
Eleven years on, the vision holds steadfast. Anam Cara now operates on
a 24-hour basis, is fully accredited, non-denominational and governed by
senior figures from local businesses and community, who are passionate
about transforming the end-of-life experience for the Geelong community.
Our voluntary Board: Colin Edmondstone, Jennifer Cromarty, Diana Taylor,
Robert Threlfall, Dr Frank Sheelings. Absent: Aaron Shrimpton
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful
committed citizens can change the world.
Indeed it is the only thing that ever has.