The Gracewood Community celebrated its 10th anniversary with a special event held on Friday 10 March.
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09 March 2023
| Retirement Living
Creating a lasting community – The Gracewood Community Celebrates its 10th anniversary!
BaptistCare The Gracewood Community in Kellyville celebrated its 10th anniversary with a special event held on Friday 10 March.
There was an air of excitement and an audible buzz as residents, families and staff gathered to recognise the significant anniversary.
There were noteworthy guests from BaptistCare – including Board Chair, Robert Dunn, Chief Executive Officer, Charles Moore, General Manager of Residential Services and Retirement Living, Allan Waters, General Manager of Property, David Cowdery and General Manager of Chaplaincy and Spiritual Care, Jenny Blok.
The event began with a BBQ sausage sizzle held across levels 1 and 2. This was followed by the official part of the event, with an introductory speech by Chair of the Residents’ Committee, Helen Bradey, followed by a formal address by Robert Dunn, BaptistCare Board Chair.
Mr Dunn spoke about the history of The Gracewood Community, reflecting on the past decade:
“It was Dr June Heinrich, the-then CEO of BaptistCare (called BCS at the time) who had a vision for creating a community that would be a safe place for seniors to call home,” said Mr Dunn.
“Today we are really thrilled to see the thriving community that has developed. A community filled with laughter, friendships and memories,” he continued. “We provide the buildings – but it is you who provide the community.”
Above: Staff member Peter Davies cuts the anniversary cake (with a sword!)
Meet the first residents at the Gracewood Community - Jim and Joan Flynn
Jim and Joan Flynn decided to downsize from their Carlingford family home more than twenty-five years ago when they both retired, initially relocating to Bateman’s Bay. After living there for a few years, they found it difficult to see their family and relatives, so they began to look for other options. They soon stumbled upon The Gracewood Community after their son-in-law referred them.
“What really impressed me was seeing a BaptistCare logo that said ‘Caring for 42 years’ on the wall when we went to speak with the salesperson,” said Jim.
Soon after, they purchased a two-bedroom apartment and haven’t looked back!
“It’s such a thriving and busy community we have here, with so many activities to enjoy,” said Jim.
“Our apartment looks out directly onto the Cumberland Forest, which runs through the centre of the community.”
Jim and Joan have three daughters, seven grandchildren and two great-granddaughters (one who is only six months old)! Their two daughters who live in Sydney can visit the couple when they like, even staying the night in their apartment.
Jim was the very first chairman of the Residents’ Committee, which was formed twelve months after the opening of the centre. Joan was a former member of the social committee and garden club.
The couple still enjoy the on-site amenities including the outdoor entertaining facilities, gym, indoor pool and Wellness Centre. Joan is involved in the games nights, where the residents bring their own games - including mah-jong, Upwords and trivia games.
Now ten years on, with Jim and Joan both in their late eighties, the couple reflect on the best decision of their lives:
“We have made many friends among the 350 residents who now live here. The residents span in age from 55 to 99!” said Joan.
“We have a lot of residents from diverse backgrounds here, but we all ‘play well’ – we respect each other and get along,” said Jim.
“You can be as involved as little or as much as like,” said Jim. “We honestly have no regrets and are very happy here.”
Above: Jim and Joan Flynn – the first residents at BaptistCare The Gracewood Community