One of the very first residents to move into Banksia Villages’ retirement villas, in 1995, was June Rourke, who is now aged 101.
June cherishes all the friendships she has made in the past quarter of a century at the retirement village in Broulee, on the NSW South Coast, as well as at Carroll College and Broulee Public School, which are all celebrating their 25th anniversaries this year.
Built in 1994, Banksia Villages has maintained warm links with Carroll College and Broulee Public School during the past 25 years. Students often hold concerts for its residents and regularly visit Banksia Lodge. Some of Banksia’s residents also volunteer at the schools to help with reading, and they have been treated as VIP guests for some of the schools’ performances.
Banksia Villages CEO Graham Wise said he is delighted to be celebrating Banksia’s 25th birthday milestone.
“2020 has been a tough year for our local community so the commemoration of a silver jubilee is a really positive event that helps us remember and celebrate our achievements, and acknowledge the company’s early founders and their efforts.
”Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic has made it necessary to put Banksia’s plans for a celebration event on hold, but this will take place as soon as it’s safe to do so. In the meantime, we have produced a special commemorative card to mark this important occasion.”
A charitable and not-for-profit organisation, Banksia has extensively expanded both its site and its services during its 25 years. Banksia’s home care service, Banksia Community Care, commenced in 2015 and provides home care throughout the Eurobodalla Shire.
Banksia Lodge residential aged care facility, which originally housed 32 aged care residents, is now home to around 80 residents. Its independent retirement living community, Banksia Village, started out with 32 villas and has grown in stages to its current total of 121 two- and three-bedroom villas. Another eight retirement villas are currently in planning.
Julie Knight has worked for Banksia Villages since 1995 and says she has seen many changes during that quarter of a century.
“I’ve worked as a receptionist and activities officer,” she says. “I’ve even driven the minibus on outings during the years.
“I’ve loved getting to know the residents, and some of them have watched my family grow, and still ask after my son, who is now 19.”