Leave a Bequest

How leaving a bequest helps us to achieve social justice

bequestAs an organisation, UnitingCare NSW.ACT takes the lead in caring for all in an inclusive manner. We work with people from diverse cultures, religious beliefs, communities and lifestyles. We treat everyone with respect and without discrimination.

One area which lacks an evidence-based understanding of particular needs or demographics, is the potential unmet need for services and partnerships that support the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) community’s expectations and aspirations for aged care. A brief literature review undertaken by UnitingCare Ageing Sydney Region in 2010, highlighted the lack of models specifically developed for LGBTI older people in an increasing ageing population. The Region identified a need for services in this area and applied to the Bequest Fund*, managed by UnitingCare Ageing, for funds to support a project officer role for further research within this field.

The Project Officer, LGBTI role aims to research and build links with LGBTI communities across NSW and the ACT to understand the needs and expectations for housing and care services within these communities and to develop a service model that can be implemented to provide appropriate and accessible services. This is an extremely innovative role and an important piece of work that shows our commitment to social justice and will establish UnitingCare Ageing as a leader in this field.

When Kellie Shields, Learning and Development Manager in the North Coast Region saw the advertisement for the role late in 2011, she thought ”This has been written for me!” The role initially focused only on the Sydney Region. However, after a little research which showed target communities based throughout NSW and the ACT, a decision was made to make the project officer a role to cover all regions.

Kellie officially started in her new role at the beginning of January and her current priorities are to:
• Gain an understanding of the needs, expectations, current services along with gaps in service for accommodation and care services within the LGBTI communities;
• Develop an accommodation and care model that is appropriate and accessible to the LGBTI community;
• Be a resource for the organisation to ensure that the appropriate care is provided to existing and potential LGBTI clients; and
• Establish formal relationships between UnitingCare Ageing and the LGBTI communities.

Kellie is clearly passionate about her role..”This is an exciting opportunity and I am so proud that UnitingCare Ageing is leading the way and has made such a commitment to the LGBTI community. It’s also amazing to think that the generosity of one person, so many years ago, will make such a significant difference to the lives of so many”.

We look forward to seeing Kellie’s progress in the role and will keep you updated on her achievements. For more information about her role, please feel free to contact Kellie at kellie@caroona.org.au

A bequest to UnitingCare NSW.ACT can be described as “a gift that never stops giving”. Many people from any of our many services could benefit well into the future from projects undertaken with the funding a bequest can provide. If you would like more information or would like to speak to someone regarding bequests, please contact the Manager Relationship Development, Madeleine Donkin on (02) 9376 1417 or at mdonkin@unitingcarenswact.org.au

*The bequest fund is comprised of the interest earned from a number of significant bequests left to UnitingCare Ageing.


How leaving a bequest gave others a ‘why’ to live.

He who has a why to live can bear almost any how… Friedrich Nietzsche, circa 1900

Some time ago, the foresight of a group of generous people has given some other people, they never knew, a ‘why’ to live. Here is how...

UnitingCare Ageing administers three current Bequest Funds. Twice a year, these funds provide the basis for the funding of different projects within the UnitingCare Ageing regions. Funding for projects can only be approved by the Board of UnitingCare Ageing and are usually based on recommendation from the Care Services Team based at Head Office, Sydney.

Residents and visitors to Starret Lodge in Warnervale, NSW, are enjoying the benefits of a new sensory garden, thanks to the initiative of Colin McDonnell, Care Service Manager at Starret Lodge.

In 2008, Colin McDonnell submitted an application for the funding of a sensory garden in the Lodge's dementia-specific unit. He also proposed to partner with the North Sydney and Central Coast Area Health Service to conduct a pre and post research study of residents. The aim of the study was to validate changes to quality of life for residents and to provide an evidence based standard for future environmental sensory garden design and operation in both residential and health care facilities.

The garden was designed and completed by a qualified landscape architect with the before and after differences amazing. Colin and other staff at Starrett Lodge quickly noticed that as a result of the changes to the physical environment with the addition of the garden and atrium, more children were being brought into the lodge by family members and more time was being spent in family gatherings. The young children could play in the garden, explore the fish, the shed and play in the car, while the older members of the family could have some quality time with their loved ones. Additionally, the activity of children playing had attracted other non family residents to venture out into the garden.

The team decided to develop the project further, initiating the Mothers and Babies Group project. Although benefits of intergenerational programs have been identified for older adults, adults with dementia are rarely targeted for such programs.

A pilot day was run with interaction between residents and babies (generally the grandchildren of staff). The response of and enthusiasm generated in the people living with dementia was magnetic and this program is now running regularly with amazing success. The project has been developed again further with residents now visiting a local pre-school. Here they enjoy spending time and building relationships with these older children.

One staff member who was initially sceptical of the intergenerational program now says...
 “When I see them with the babies....their faces are so happy. They remember things. They enjoy their day more. Their communication improves. For the families and carers to walk in and see the smiles on their faces, and the improved quality of life, it’s worth it.”

A bequest to UnitingCare NSW.ACT can be described as “a gift that never stops giving”. Many people from any of our many services could benefit well into the future from projects undertaken with the funding a bequest can provide. If you would like more information or would like to speak to someone regarding bequests, please contact the Manager Fundraising and Relationship Development, Rob Novotny on (02) 9376 1411 or at rnovotny@unitingcarenswact.org.au

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Bequest Wording

If you would like to leave a gift in your will to help support the valuable work of UnitingCare NSW.ACT, suggested wording is available here.