By Robyne Young
From the moment a person steps across the threshold of the Amaranth Foundation they should be confident that they will receive the wrap around care that will meet their physical and mental health needs.
Speaking at the official opening of the foundation’s premises in the former Karinya aged care facility last Tuesday, founder and CEO Julianne Whyte OAM said the model of care, unique to Amaranth, had evolved from her, and her family’s experience with her father’s terminal illness.
“He challenged me to find a better way for people at their end of life and after his death that’s what I, with the support of family and the board, have worked toward since Amaranth’s establishment in 2009,” Mrs Whyte said.
“Importantly, he said I didn’t have to know how to do everything, but to surround myself with people who had that knowledge,” she said.
While originally founded to provide services for people living with advanced chronic and life limiting illness, their families and care givers, Mrs Whyte said Amaranth had extended its mental health services for people of all ages, including children, and was extending its services to include disability and aged care services.
“This is a very exciting time for our organisation: we’re extending not only our reach of services but also where we can deliver them and make a real difference to people’s lives, because people’s lives matter,” Mrs Whyte said.
“We’ve recorded a turnover of $1 million in the last year and with a clear business plan, success in obtaining grants and people using our services, the future is looking healthy,” she said.
The opening also included the launch of the Trevor Davis Pay It Forward Compassionate Community Fund established to help people who were experiencing hardship or living with a terminal illness.
Trevor Davis died of adrenal cancer, and his widow and co-founder of the fund, Judy Davis said with Amaranth’s support they had been able to give Trevor his wish to die at home.
“For Melanie, Simone, Ashleigh and Phillip and me to have had that support made all the difference,” Mrs Davis said.
Amaranth staff recorded interviews with Trevor and took photographs with the resulting video and book presented to the family at the opening.
Amaranth board member Adam Richardson said Amaranth staff including Mrs Whyte had saved his life, and he had donated $500 to show his heartfelt appreciation of the services he had been able to access.
“Three years ago, I was in a very dark place and if it wasn’t for Amaranth I wouldn’t be here,” he told the gathering that included Amaranth Board Chairman, Greg Santamaria, Federation Councillors Mayor Cr Patrick Bourke and Cr Paul Miegel, representatives from kindred agencies and Rivalea Employee Relations Manager Kellie Lang.
Last Tuesday’s opening also included the launch of a volunteer program established in partnership with the Albury Wodonga Volunteer Resource Bureau to train volunteers to support the work of primarily mental health workers and suitably qualified allied health professionals.
“Again, this is about taking a holistic approach to the many areas of care that we are working in throughout a person’s lifetime, or at the end of life,” Mrs Whyte said.
Amaranth has its main office in Corowa and outreach clinics across the Riverina, including Wagga Wagga, Cootamundra, Junee, Temora, Coolamon, Tumut, Adelong, Brungle,
Tumbarumba, Albury-Wodonga, Chiltern, Wangaratta, Corowa, Leeton, Narrandera, Griffith, Mulwala and Howlong.
More information is available at amaranth.org.au