Chairperson's Annual Report 2015
Once again it is a pleasure to report on a successful year’s operation for LHI Retirement Services (LHI). We thank God for the wonderful way in which we are very richly blessed. In particular, many people continue to serve in a variety of ways – all for the benefit of helping to create a happy and contented life for those within our communities. We acknowledge the staff, the volunteers, the Lutheran Women of South Australia’s Auxiliary, the congregations, the residents committees and the auxiliary committees within our communities, also all those who support their efforts, and friends and relatives. Together, working as a team, is what makes LHI a very special place and it is gratifying to receive acknowledgements, through word of mouth and through letters, regarding the loving and compassionate care and support provided throughout our villages. To selflessly serve others can be truly rewarding and, on behalf of the Board, I thank all those who have contributed in any way to our cause. You have and will continue to make a difference and you have contributed significantly to the success we enjoy.
Remodelling and upgrading of the former low care units in the Glynde Aged Care facility continues apace. We thank all those who reside nearby who have had to endure noise and disruption due to this work. Nevertheless, the outcomes are very satisfactory and will serve us well for the foreseeable future.
Through our CEO, the Management team and the Board Property sub-committee, the planning for the community centre continues, with input from the Residents Committee and the St Andrews congregation. We note that the transfer of the land on which this new centre will be sited, has been completed. We are indebted to the congregation for their generosity in this regard and have conveyed to them our sincere appreciation. Interested parties will be kept informed of progress and we will seek their feedback on the final plans to ensure the completed building satisfies their needs. I am sure that, when completed, this new facility will be greatly appreciated by all users and that it will add greatly to the community life at Glynde.
As reported last year, the Bowillia ILU development was completed and I can report that all occupants are now well settled and enjoying life in their new surroundings. We look forward to their increasing participation in the community life of Glynde.
Hope Valley Village
No major developments or redevelopments have taken place at Hope Valley during this period in review and village life continues happily and harmoniously. However, the Residents’ Committee took the initiative to purchase a new bus which will be used to transport residents as required. The decision to purchase the bus resulted in a considerable outlay of funds and we applaud the Hope Valley community for supporting this venture. To help, LHI was pleased to assist through a loan to complete the purchase of the bus. This loan has already been substantially repaid through the enthusiastic fundraising efforts of the village. We have no doubt that the bus will be another very valuable asset to assist the community and, again, we thank the Hope Valley residents for their support of this special project.
For each sub-committee and Board meeting, management provides comprehensive reports on operations, including comparisons of year-to-date actual versus budget. In particular, they report on significant areas of risk and highlight any variations together with an explanation for the variance. In this way, the Board continually monitors the financial position, as well as other areas, critical to the LHI operations. During this period the only area of concern, and this seems to be a continuous concern, is what further government regulatory changes there will be to funding and personal finances, and the impact those will have, both on our organisation and the individual residents who reside here. Change seems to be a constant with governments, nevertheless we will minimise the impact on individuals wherever possible, while always assessing that against our need to remain viable.
We are sure that you are all well aware of the need to remain financially viable. This is one of the major responsibilities of the Board and it is an aspect of our work that receives constant attention. Current financial outcomes indicate that LHI has had another very satisfactory year and our financial position remains ‘rock solid’. As a result of this we are in a position to proceed with the Glynde Community Centre. The cash-flow projections show that it is highly unlikely that we will need to borrow to complete this project. In addition, and given the very low returns available through interest income, there is opportunity for us to consider other redevelopments, remodelling and/or upgrading of our facilities in order to use our available funds more effectively, and therefore maximise the return on our investment. As those decisions are made, communication will take place to ensure that those affected by any development/s will be fully informed and cared for to the same high standard, regardless of the disruption experienced during the building work that will take place.
As this is my last annual report, I am very pleased to inform you, and it is important for all of you to understand, that the Board and management have never set out to make a targeted profit. Yes, LHI needs to remain viable and at least break-even, but always, the overriding goal is to reinvest as much as possible into providing the best care and facilities to cater for the needs of those in LHI’s care. I believe that adhering to this core philosophy is now clearly evident, through the care and facilities that you all enjoy. Importantly, the ability to continue to provide this care and these facilities has been extremely well-supported by many people, who have generously bequeathed or gifted property, shares and money over the years. We trust that this generosity, which has enhanced these villages for your care and enjoyment, will be an example and an encouragement for you to also consider LHI as a beneficiary of your will. This is indeed another way in which we can serve those who are here now and those who will follow in our footsteps, to enjoy their life here at LHI. To all those who have contributed in this way, we are extremely grateful.
As I mentioned in last year’s report, the Board needs to continue its task to seek out new Board members. Beginning early in 2014, the Board deliberately sought the services of a person who could assume the role of Chairperson. Fortunately we have been able to secure the services of Julie-Anne Burgess, who is highly skilled and motivated, to take on the role. We look forward to her leadership and pray that God will grant her strength, wisdom and courage, as she leads LHI through this position. The search for appropriately skilled Board members will continue.
During the succession planning process we realised that the LHI constitution did not allow for an orderly, planned, changeover of Board members. Nor did it allow for any additional Board members to be added should further expertise be required to carry out the Board responsibilities. We therefore changed the LHI constitution to allow for an additional two Board members, which provides flexibility for changes to be made in a responsible way and to add expertise as required. The proper processes to achieve the necessary changes were followed, the appropriate approvals gained and regulatory reporting undertaken and completed.
The vast numbers of policies continue to be scrutinised and updated where necessary and we thank the management team for their input and guidance in this process. Policies are so necessary to guide staff in their day to day operations and also ensure that LHI complies with the many regulations that we must adhere to. Adherence to policies ensures that standards are maintained at the highest level and that procedures are carried in a proper, orderly, and efficient manner.
We are indebted to all of our dedicated and committed staff. That they carry out their work to achieve high standards of excellence is confirmed by the exceptional outcomes of the government accreditation and other spot audits. During this period, both sites achieved a 100% result, which has assured our accreditation for a further three year period. We congratulate all staff on their outstanding efforts and that their remarkable care and hard work has been recognised in this way.
Of course those results don’t simply happen. They result from the exceptional leadership provided by the CEO and his management team. To the whole management team who provide leadership on a day-to-day basis, who provide advice and leadership through their committee work with Board members and who provide the regular detailed reports to the Board, we express our sincerest gratitude and our heartiest congratulations. We are indeed fortunate to have such a highly skilled and motivated team to lead the operations of our organisation.
As reported previously, we have welcomed Julie-Anne Burgess as a Board member and we look forward to her input as the Board carries out its responsibilities.
I express sincere thanks to all the Board members, Colleen Fitzpatrick (Vice Chair), Julie-Anne Burgess, Cathy Oster, Tony Materne, Bryon Andretzke, Rob Newcombe, David Burrows, Mark Fielke, and Geoff Thiel, for their continued commitment to LHI. They generously give of their time and talents voluntarily and LHI is indeed very fortunate to benefit from their service. To the Chairpersons of the respective sub-committees of the Board - Bryon (Property), Cathy (Human Services), and Geoff (Finance) – I express sincere thanks for their leadership. While the full details of each committee’s deliberations are distributed to all Board members, the work undertaken by them, in distilling the details down to the crucial elements of any project or subject for discussion, assists the Board greatly in its understanding and decision-making. We are indebted to all Board members and members of the management team who are involved in the sub-committee work.
As indicated earlier, due to my retirement, this is my last annual report. It is an opportunity for me to reflect, albeit very briefly, on developments at LHI over the last 30+ years. What is very evident is that time has passed very, very quickly. So many changes have taken place and LHI has grown enormously. However, the one thing that has not changed is the desire for LHI to offer to people the very best of care. That has been a constant, and so it should be, because that is why we exist. Mr & Mrs Schulze who through their exceptional generosity commenced this mission of, and I quote from our history, ‘providing homes for the aged’, particularly ‘for widows of pastors’ would be amazed at what has been achieved. I believe they would also be very pleased that the care provided, initially in a very small way, is now available to so many more through such a large organisation.
Since commencing in 1957, 52 Board members have served this organisation. I have had the privilege and the pleasure of working alongside 41 of those. All have given their time voluntarily and served selflessly for the cause.
Also during LHI’s 58 years of operation there have only been 4 CEO’s and one of those was acting for one year and another held the position for only two years. So in essence there have only been two long serving CEO’s, (Theo Koch and Tim Gray), which is quite remarkable.
I have witnessed many changes over the years. The Glynde Aged Care facility was extended with the rear of the building becoming the front and vice versa. At Glynde, St. Andrews Church was built. Glen Davis Court was constructed, as was Charles Bright Court, Theo Court, Schulze Court, Weckert Court and Bowillia Court. Almost all of the Glynde independent living units have been demolished and replaced with the new units in order to meet the expectations of new residents. This programme of rejuvenation continues today. The property at 30 Edward Street was purchased and the house converted into a Corporate Centre. (And soon we will see the construction of the new Community Centre.)
I remember our Hope Valley site when all that it contained was a few old vines and a lot of old post and wires from the trellising of the vines. Since then, (1984), the whole of the Hope Valley site has been constructed.
That is a very brief summary, but in terms of buildings, facilities, and equipment, LHI is very well-placed to provide excellent care well into the future.
However, it is the people who have made it all happen, that need to be acknowledged. Mr Theo Koch was the CEO from 1957 – 1991. Theo, together with others, had the ground-breaking task of commencing the whole project. He worked tirelessly at LHI even though he was simultaneously the CEO of the Lutheran Laymen’s League. During his tenure, a significant part of the Glynde site was purchased and developed, the Hope Valley site purchased and development was commenced and he is to be commended for his tireless dedication to the task.
In 1994 Tim Gray became the CEO and I have had the good fortune of working with Tim since then. During Tim’s tenure to date, the Hope Valley site development was completed. This included the Church and Community Centre, Angas Court, The Vines, and other additions to the Aged Care facility. At Glynde, as I have mentioned previously, virtually the whole Glynde site has either been replaced, added to, or purchased and developed. The only court which remains in its original form is Glenora.
Due to the speed of development in those early years, management personnel, systems and controls, were found to be lacking for the expanded and expanding operation incorporating two sites. Work to develop and implement appropriate systems commenced in the latter half of 1991and developed slowly. Tim was employed as CEO in 1994 to advance those as a priority, so that proper oversight and controls would be implemented to ensure a professional and efficient operation. Under his watch, appropriate systems were implemented and qualified staff appointed to senior roles. Tim has a unique ability to develop the skills of people, to encourage and develop those people to achieve their full potential and to show trust in them. In this way, they feel valued and contribute fully to the organisation. He has built a management team around him that is committed, dedicated and supportive and which, together with Tim, has built a culture of excellence in Christian service. This would delight the Schulze’s as it was their desire to, and I quote from the history again, ‘provide quality aged care within a Christian environment’. Tim, building on what had already been commenced in this sense, together with the support of his management team, has been the architect behind most of what LHI is today, both physically and culturally, and we are deeply indebted to him for his contribution over the last 20 years. It has been an absolute pleasure to work alongside him, to witness what LHI has become and the wonderful service it provides to those who choose to become part of it. Today we have a highly professional and well-managed operation, delivering outstanding Christian care. It is an organisation which, I believe, has more than fulfilled the dreams and goals of the original founders, Mr and Mrs Schulze. As Chairman and CEO, Tim and I have now worked together for 21 years. I express my sincere gratitude for his willing cooperation, his sound and wise advice and his desire and drive to achieve what LHI is today. His advice to me and to the Board over these years has been open, honest, and sound and is largely responsible for the success we enjoy. I am sure the other Board members would join me in expressing this appreciation to Tim and his team.
But as human beings we have flaws and we need to be sustained. Therefore, we must always recognise and acknowledge that God sustains us and has been very gracious to all who have been part of this development to date. We thank God for motivating those who have served, and for blessing that service and every project that we have undertaken to serve others. LHI exists as an expression of faith which is active in love as an acknowledgement that ‘faith by itself, if not accompanied by action, is dead’.
For all those with whom I have served, for the many people I have met through serving, I express my since appreciation to you all for enriching my life through our coming together through this organisation. I pray that God will continue to bless you all and this organisation so that His love is evident in all that we do to serve others.