Evelyn Ridge Retirement Village recognised on national level

Social Committee secretary Tina Disney and Residents Advisory Committee chairman Barry Woodman were congratulated by Evelyn MP Bridget Vallence on the Village of the Year Award fro 2021. Pictures: MIKAYLA VAN LOON. 268845_01

By Mikayla van Loon

Evelyn Ridge Retirement Village has been named Lendlease’s National Village of the Year, an achievement that has made residents feel extremely proud to live in the community.

Residents Advisory Committee chairman Barry Woodman said although the criteria for the award was very much about the facilities, he felt it was the community spirit and friendships more than anything that helped the Village win the award.

“We are proud of the place because we live here and it’s our place,” he said.

“The main complaint people have when they come into the village is ‘why didn’t I do this sooner’ and me too, ‘why didn’t I do this three or four years earlier’. So yes, it’s the camaraderie, it’s the attitude.”

Every year the Lendlease Retirement Living awards recognises the achievements of a village team for delivering a great living experience, as well as exceeding in areas of safety, operations, sales, finances, people leadership and sustainability goals.

With over 75 retirement villages in Australia, regular surveys are done by village residents to refresh services and find out what is needed, contributing to the criteria for Village of the Year.

“The Village of the Year awards are always a highlight of the year and a great opportunity

for us to celebrate the incredible passion, efforts and achievements across our business,” Retirement Living managing director Nathan Cockerill said.

“I’d like to congratulate Jeanie-Maree and Connie (Village managers) for continuing to provide an exceptional resident experience at Evelyn Ridge and for exemplifying our culture of care at Lendlease Retirement Living.”

Mr Woodman said it was quite an exciting event to watch the awards live with a number of residents in the community centre and celebrate the win.

“We were sitting here watching the live stream from Sydney for the award. We lost contact for about 20 seconds right at the spot it was going to be announced,” he said.

“Suddenly it came back ‘Evelyn Ridge’ and we went ‘ahhhh’ because there was quite a crowd over there watching. So judging by the cheers that went up when that happened it really did make a big difference.”

The Village offers social clubs, art lessons, bowls, garden groups and music clubs for the close to 180 residents.

Many of the facilities and programs run in the village are all decided on by the residents, including the installation or building of particular assets through bar profits.

“If it’s over $5,000 and it’s our money that we’ve collected, it has to be approved by the residents,” Mr Woodman said.

“The profits from the bar purchased 20 kilowatts of power on the roof, solar power on the roof, to cut our bills down.

“[The residents] approved this and it’s working extremely well. So we’ve got 30 kilowatts on the roof, which is quite decent. It goes pretty well towards keeping this place self-sufficient.”

To congratulate the achievement, Evelyn MP Bridget Vallence visited residents on Monday 14 February to view the premises herself and to see how much of a community venue the village was.

“In terms of supply and demand we don’t have sufficient housing in Yarra Ranges community for retirement style housing,” she said.

“So having a village like this as a huge asset for our community and to have one that’s performing so well and all the residents are happy and the management and residents interact really well, I’m really pleased to hear about that.”