ARARAT - The Patricia Hinchey Day Centre will this week celebrate its 40th Birthday.
A "Ruby" Devonshire tea will be held this Friday and the community is invited to go along and celebrate what is a very important milestone.
Over the years the day centre has engaged many sectors of the community including staff, volunteers, auxiliary and most importantly families and friends of all the regulars.
East Grampians Health Service Chief Executive Nick Bush said the Patricia Hinchey Day Centre continues to provide an excellent service to the community.
"The staff over 40 years have been committed and driven to give the best service to the people who attend the centre," he said.
"On behalf of East Grampians Health Service I thank the staff and volunteers for their unwavering efforts to improve people's lives."
The centre was officially named the Patricia Hinchey Day Centre on October 8, 1997 in recognition of the service given to the organisation and the Ararat community by Patricia Hinchey - a Matron (Director of Nursing) of the Ararat and District Hospital (1976-1994).
The centre has become an integral part of East Grampians Health Service and the Ararat community, and provides a caring and enjoyable place for older people to attend.
A team of dedicated staff create a warm, friendly environment and are focused on improving wellbeing through creative activities which stimulate the people who attend.
Volunteers play a big part in the day to day happenings and offer the centre more flexibility with activities and additional outings. Notably, strong bonds of friendship are created.
The Patricia Hinchey Day Centre is open Monday to Friday and each day up to 30 older people from the community are picked up from their homes by the Day Centre commuter buses.
The first patients attend the Rehabilitation Centre on June 18, 1973. The term Rehabilitation Centre was chosen to focus on "regaining former skills, interests and physical and mental well-being through social activities". In the late 70s a taxi service was introduced to transport people to the centre. Activities included peg making, leather work, cane baskets, weaving and cooking.
The peg making was part of associated activities with Aradale Mental Hospital.
From 1985 onwards a variety of regular activities were offered, complimented by school children's visits, demonstrations of cooking, pottery, Rawleigh's products and chocolate making.
Regular church services were held, exercise sessions with a physiotherapist and musical entertainment. Bus trips were organised to towns and attractions including Bendigo, Stawell, Halls Gap, Horsham and Ballarat.
A hospital station wagon replaces the taxi service in 1988 and between 1991 and 1996 a monthly calendar and newsletter was produced to keep everyone well informed.
The Adult Training Support Service (ATSS) Program commences in 1992. Approved clients are supported by a Disability Services Program Manager.
The annual ball commenced in 1994, along with attendance at the monthly Ararat Town Hall concerts (which are still a highlight on the calendar year today).
The purchase of a commuter bus in 1994 by the organisation for transporting of clients was another significant improvement and just 14 years later a second bus was purchased thanks to generous donations.
In 2004 the centre was the winner of the Grampians Pyrenees Business Awards for Excellence in Health and Community Service and just this year Community Care Common Standards Accreditation (HACC) was successfully met and accredited for three years.
For more information about the 40th anniversary celebrations contact the centre direct on 5352 9326.