Name changes, but care remains

THE name “St Luke’s” has been dropped from the title of a well-known care provider in Bendigo – but the organisation says delivery of services will remain far reaching.

St Luke’s Anglicare on Thursday changed its name to Anglicare Victoria – the organisation with which St Luke’s merged in 2014.

The St Luke’s name has been used to describe the organisation in its many forms since the 1930s. 

Carolyn Wallace, Anglicare Victoria’s regional director, said the name change reflected the unity of the organisation.

“I don’t think we are losing anything by losing the name,” she said. 

“The priorities are to continue a breadth and a depth of services, to continue to maintain services in a range of offices across this big Loddon-Mallee region and even going into Albury-Wodonga and Wangaratta.”

Ms Wallace said St Luke’s had its genesis in Bendigo and had alway been “grounded in local response to people’s needs and opportunities”.

But the word “Anglicare” had been associated with the St Luke’s brand for some time and it was “timely” to adopt a name that showed the organisation was part of a bigger entity, she said.

“So it’s not a complete leap into an unknown name and entity. 

“We are launching a new brand that brings the two organisations together and promotes us as one united organisation.”

St Luke’s was founded in 1939 as the St Luke’s Toddlers Home – part of an Anglican agency –  in White Hills.

In 1979, St Luke’s moved from offering institutional care to community-based care.

The agency was incorporated in 2000, before major changes in 2014.

“A lot has happened for St Luke’s over the past few years, one of the most significant being our merger with Anglicare Victoria in 2014,” Ms Wallace said.

In a statement, Anglicare Victoria said its services in the Loddon Mallee area were “there for people in all situations in life”.

“Our services include: family support, youth services, foster care and other out-of-home care, financial counselling, gamblers help, victims support, disability services, microfinance and mental health support.”

Ms Wallace said the Bendigo office – the biggest in regional Victoria – had been able to expand some of its services since the merger.

“Anglicare is predominantly government funded and predominantly state funded. We raise about 5 per cent of our income from donations, bequests and philanthropists,” Ms Wallace said. 

“Part of the point of merging was to ensure the viability of this service provision in the region and take advantage of being part of a bigger organisation and the benefits it can bring.”

Increasingly, Ms Wallace said, issues relevant to the Loddon-Mallee region related to personal finances.

“We call it financial inclusion … being able to participate economically in society,” she said. 

“We’re seeing a rise of one- and two-person households. Quite often they are more financially disadvantaged.

“Another issue is education and employment opportunities. Often that’s young people coming out of school.”

INSPIRED: Participant Kim at Anglicare Victoria's weekly Smart Art Mums group in Bendigo.

INSPIRED: Participant Kim at Anglicare Victoria's weekly Smart Art Mums group in Bendigo.

One of Anglicare’s programs in Bendigo is the Smart Art Mums Group, which has been running for 11 years and promotes wellbeing and friendship.

Participants on Thursday spoke of the enjoyment they got out of meeting in a comfortable, relaxed environment where they could be creative and engage with other women.

“We get freedom and friendship out of coming here,” one participant said.

Another said the therapy and enjoyment of making art combined well with the informal “counselling” that regularly occurred between participants.

“Sometimes when you’ve got stuff going on in your life, you come and talk about it,” she said.

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