Introducing the Warrigal Way
This year Warrigal won the National Provider of the Year Award from Aged and Community Services Australia. It’s a major achievement recognising the 51 years of outstanding work by everyone who has been part of the Warrigal journey including our incredible customers, wonderful volunteers, kind staff, innovative business partners and our inspiring community – and we thank them all for their contribution to this great vision that older people across the Illawarra and Southern Highlands could have great lives!
So why did we win? It can be summed in the one unique element that sets us apart from the thousands of other services across Australia – The Warrigal Way.
And what is the Warrigal Way I hear you ask? It’s something that’s been created over a number of years, built into our DNA. I really believe it comes from our origins in being established by a group of community-minded volunteers. Some of whom are still part of Warrigal today, like the inspiring Norm Rowland, still a volunteer at Warrigal at the mere age of 98! It means we have been a part of our community since day one, and this continues to be how we operate.
We are about to embark on a conversation with our community about what the Warrigal Way means to them. But for me, it is about putting older people first in everything we do; engaging them at every level of the organisation; smashing ageist paradigms and changing mindsets about aged care and retirement living; and building an intentional culture that celebrates all of this and more.
It is also about the everyday little things that are vitally important: that we are all about fresh food and serving fresh food choices at every meal at every aged care home; delivering lifestyle and wellness programs with an emphasis on connection not illness; and building inspiring communities through an approach that enables people to create their home environment when they move in with Warrigal.
Then there’s the other details like the fact we are owned and governed by community volunteers, not rich investors! There are no shareholders, or bonuses or executive privileges. We have gold level environmental sustainability initiatives and a relentless search for innovative improvements with our university research partnerships.
But most of all, it’s that we create affordable, inspiring communities for older people with exceptional places and a compelling purpose…this is what makes the Warrigal Way.
When I show family, friends, colleagues and others through some of our homes and villages they are genuinely surprised. Often they say “This is not what I thought aged care was” – and that’s the response we want people to have when they come to our places. That’s the Warrigal Way.
Think you know aged care? Think again! Step inside our Shell Cove community and be part of the difference!