Celebrating the legacy of the Friends of Strathearn

The local organisation has proudly supported Strathearn residential aged care home for decades, raising funds to provide equipment including lifters, chairs and mattresses.

The volunteers’ efforts rarely went unnoticed, and in 1995 they received a Premier’s Award for outstanding service to the community.

A lack of new members has ultimately led to the group needing to retire, but they are passing the responsibility to capable hands. HammondCare took over the operation of the care home in 2016 and will now coordinate fundraising and volunteering efforts.

Friends of Strathearn treasurer Ann Beckenham said it was time for the small team, whose number include members of many other local charity organisations, to call it a day.

Many of the members have been in the group for more than 15 years and many have had family members in Strathearn over the years, so the decision to finalise the group was not arrived at easily,” Mrs Beckenham said.

However, we recognise that changes occur for many reasons and we must move on.

As a group, we appreciate the value that being a part of the larger HammondCare group has brought to Strathearn and we believe that both the Village and the House will be in good hands.”

She thanked Willow Tree Hotel licensees Ian and Karen Campbell in particular for their generous and significant support of the friends over many years.

In an interview with ABC Upper Hunter, Mrs Beckenham said she believed most of the members would continue assisting as volunteers, which reflected the original intention of the group when it was formed back in 1982.

HammondCare at Home general manager David Martin said he was grateful for the continued hard work of the Friends of Strathearn during the transition in ownership.

The residents of Strathearn and of Scone owe a debt of gratitude to many dedicated volunteers over the years,” Mr Martin said.

Local fundraising has been key to the health of the aged care home throughout its existence and that doesn’t change. Strathearn is in a great shape now, and HammondCare is well positioned to receive the baton and continue the great work of the friends.

We want to encourage people in the community to continue volunteering and continue donating, with the assurance that funds raised in Scone will stay in Scone. There are many wonderful opportunities to partner with us in caring for older people living at home and in aged care.”

The Friends of Strathearn were formally recognised with a thank you luncheon from on Friday, August 3, at Strathearn Village. Among the volunteers from over the years were four who had been present at the very first meeting on November 29, 1982.

The past and present members of the volunteer organisation were all presented with certificates of appreciation as well as a stunning painting by local artist Sarah Bishop.

Those present to congratulate them on their legacy included Upper Hunter MP Michael Johnsen, Upper Hunter Shire deputy mayor Maurice Collison, and HammondCare CEO Stephen Judd.

Anyone who wishes to find out more about volunteering opportunities at Strathearn, or with other HammondCare services, is encouraged to call 1800 79 33 99 or go to hammond.com.au/about/volunteer.