At any given time Presbyterian Support Southland is a key player in the lives of more than 1,000 people, from residents and employees to volunteers and supporters.
It’s a charitable trust that derives income from a combination of residential fees, donations, Trust fund grants and bequests. In its daily operations, volunteers work beside employees powering an organisation where people have precedence over profit.
It may be steeped in a 90-year history with traditional core values based on meeting community needs but behind its continued success is the ability to keep things modern. Chief Executive Peter Wards says that it’s just as vital in our sector as in any other industry.
In 2001 Presbyterian Support Southland hired Focus to provide hardware and support for technology that has enabled them to work smarter. Now Peter can work from home, or anywhere else, which comes in handy when managing a broad based organisation. We now have all sites linked.
“Focus keeps us up to date with what they can do. We sit down and go over what’s what and what we should consider to keep us up to speed.”
Now when Presbyterian Support Southland buys into an upgrade, an integral part of the purchase is training.
“I think Focus’s role has been to talk us through how to do things. We have greater emphasis on training for computers now. If we get new programmes part of the deal has to be a training component to make sure we’re getting the most from it.”
“Focus adds value to what we are doing. When you are running a business you want to be able to get the maximum out of everything and the only way you can do that is getting the right advice and keeping up with current trends.”
As far as those trends go it’s the old story of the more things change, the more they stay the same. Resourcing is always an issue in an industry where there’s never any fat for bureaucracy but always plenty of red tape to be complied with and where demand for service far outstrips supply.
In 1919 Southland’s burning social need was for orphanages to care for children. It’s an area where Presbyterian Support Southland is still active under its comprehensive Family Works service but the emphasis now is on caring for children within families wherever possible.
It’s most visible business by far is services to older people.
This now includes a full range of options – where the emphasis is firmly on support and choice, including helping people to stay in their own homes.
Today the active retired are even moving themselves into Retirement Villages. They’re attracted by security, companionship and freedom from property maintenance worries.
Presbyterian Support Southland facilities include Peacehaven Village, Vickery Court and Walmsley House in Invercargill, and Resthaven Village in Gore.
Some have a small village feel, other are more like first class hotels. As well as first class care they offer modern decors, warmth and a range of entertainment, even hair salons. A recent addition is the Elms Café at Peacehaven Village where residents can grab something to eat or entertain guests.
After all, it’s the way of the future.
Presbyterian Support Southland