Banfields Edition 1 2024 – CEO Message

Hello everyone and welcome to 2024.

I am excited to be joining  AACG as your new CEO and look forward to an exciting yet busy 2024 with many great opportunities on the horizon. I come with a strong Finance & Accounting background and I look forward to using this business acumen to help AACG continue to grow into the future. My specific experience in Aged Care started back in the early 2000s, working at Monash City Council where we had three facilities – Clarinda, Monash Gardens and Elizabeth Gardens. From 2011 – 2018, I was Director of Corporate Services at Mecwacare where we expanded the number of our facilities from three to eleven. Last year, I rejoined Mecwacare as their Business Manager to assist in the transition of six facilities acquired from Freemasons.

After joining AACG, I visited all three sites in my first week and was impressed by the standard of care the facilities provided. I also appreciated the positive energy delivered by all staff members who made residents feel very welcome and at home.

It has been very exciting to see the first group of residents arriving at Mt Eliza Gardens to already start enjoying the fantastic services and amenities provided at the facility. John Matthies and I hosted a gettogether on the evening of 16 January to show the facility’s neighbours around the new building. As you would expect, the construction of an Aged Care Facility is disruptive to local residents with noise, dirt and tradesmen’s vehicles parking in their streets. Therefore, it was nice to be able to share with them the magnificently finished architectural design, décor and hotel-style features Mt Eliza Gardens offers.

Also, the extension development at Kew Gardens continues to progress well with staff doing a fabulous job trying to operate as normally as possible within the construction zone, which is no mean feat! The extension will be finished by mid-2024 and will be a very impressive addition to Kew Gardens Aged Care.

Last but by no means least, I visited Banfields on a beautiful, sunny day in week one. Nothing in Victoria beats Philip Island on a nice warm Summer’s Day during school holidays. The island buzzes and that was the same feeling I experienced, whilst visiting Banfields. There is something comfortable about a single floor facility that I particularly love. When my children were young, we used to visit the island regularly and I recall the original motel of the same name that was on the site. On the day I visited Banfields Aged Care, there were some entertainers performing and you could hear them and the residents singing along throughout the facility. It was a fantastic vibe!

So, after my week one orientation tour, week two was straight down to business with many important agenda items, which I will make my priority in the comingmonths. When I was doing my research into AACG, I was impressed at John’s dedication to carrying on the family legacy of providing high levels of care to all AACG residents, which will be my mantra as well as your CEO.

We need a sustainable and growth-oriented organisation, so we can continue to provide a strong workplace for our staff and outstanding care for our residents. I look forward to meeting everyone, as I visit each site regularly. Please feel free to come up and introduce yourself to me if you see me on site.

Neil Thorpe

Feb 28, 2024