Trudi Murray was horrified at how her mother’s cousin was vilified growing up because of his sexuality. Determined to do something about this, she decided to use her land at Woodlands Way on the Northern Gold Coast to build Queensland’s first LGBTI aged care residence.
Although a registered nurse in her own right, aged care is a complex system that is very different to the hospital world that Trudi knew.
To Ann Robilotta, however, it is second nature as she has spent her whole career in the sector. An expert in the field, in 2016 Ann was awarded an OAM for her services to aged care.
Trudi met Ann at a Breast Cancer Fundraiser for breast cancer advocate Connie Johnson in late 2013. A few years later, they embarked on realising this ambitious plan. In the first instance they both worked tirelessly to secure a Development Application on the land. Then, on 17 September 2017, after enlisting Trudi’s friend Kylie Congram to assist with writing their submission, they were awarded 60 LGBTI bed licenses from the Federal Government.
While Trudi and Ann now had government support for their ground-breaking aged care venture, building and operating an aged care residence is a huge undertaking, and one that eventually got the better of them.
Not prepared to hand this important project over to just anyone, they approached Arcare because they both felt Arcare would ‘do it right’.
After a few promising phone calls with Arcare management, Trudi met Arcare co-founder John Knowles on her block of land at Parkwood and negotiations commenced shortly after.
Queensland’s first LGBTI aged care residence now had the financial backing, operational expertise and commitment to diversity and inclusiveness it needed to succeed!
Construction on Arcare Parkwood commenced in November 2018. In April 2019, Arcare was awarded another 30 bed licenses, bringing the total number of suites at Arcare Parkwood to 90.
To ensure that Arcare Parkwood will be the sanctuary for LGBTI community elders that Trudi envisioned and Arcare is committed to, Arcare has partnered with the Queensland Aids Council (QuAC).
They have been working together to achieve Rainbow Tick Accreditation and so far have reviewed recruitment processes, official documentation, the physical environment and conducted extensive team member training.
These endeavours have been overseen by an LGBTI advisory group that is made up of representatives of QuAC and members of Queensland’s LGBTI community.
The group meets regularly and will continue doing so up to and beyond when Arcare Parkwood expects to receive its Rainbow Tick Accreditation in 2020.
Arcare Parkwood will be holding its public open day on 9 November 2019 and will be welcoming its first clients on Monday 11 November.
It is located at 2 Woodlands Way, Parkwood, Queensland 4214.
Arcare is a family-owned aged care provider with 16 residences in Queensland (and another 24 across Victoria and NSW). They are well known for their inclusiveness and innovation: in 2018 they opened their second Sri-Lankan friendly aged care community in Springwood, Queensland.
In 2015 Arcare won a Better Practice Award for their Relationship-first Approach and innovative Dedicated Assignments – where the same small group of workers support the same clients every time they come to work.