New home care offices open in regional Victoria

Last week was a milestone week for regional Victoria, with Uniting AgeWell celebrating the opening of new home care offices in Castlemaine and Swan Hill to support the growth and demand for home care services in the Loddon Mallee.

While the local teams moved into their new offices in June, they were officially opened at special events last week.

Director Regional Victoria Home Care Meagan Thomas says both of the new offices are central and lend themselves to capacity building for the team of Care Advisors to build relationships with other services in the area, ensuring customers have the best access to what they need.

“We have seen an increase in the demand for home care services along with those wanting support to get out and about to do the things they’ve always done,” says Meagan.

CEO Andrew Kinnersly says, “I’m just so proud of where we are as an organisation, I’m proud of our growth, I’m proud of the quality of services that we provide, and I’m proud that we make a difference to a lot of people.

Andrew says the organisation is proudly committed to providing high quality, tailored home care services in the region and maintaining a local focus. “There is no doubt there are challenges for older people living in rural and remote localities as they age, particularly around the accessibility and availability of aged care services.” He adds, “We’ve made it a priority to grow our services in those areas. We want to ensure that people across the Loddon Mallee receive the support and care they need to continue living independently and ageing well at home. It’s a key motivator for us and the right thing to do.”

Deputy CEO Fonda Voukelatos, who along with CEO Andrew Kinnersly spoke at the opening ceremonies, says the teams are very focussed on building relationships within the community.

“The reason we are here is to support clients and their families. We want to get involved in authentic relationships. That means listening, hearing and getting to know their stories. It means honouring that individual.”


Balloons, cakes and wall-to wall smiles were evident at the official Castlemaine office opening on Wednesday 3 July 2024. Clients joined staff in a celebratory lunch in the beautiful heritage-protected building at 275 Barker Street, with its high ceilings and big windows. Everyone had a wonderful lunch and the cake was cut to a round of applause.

United AgeWell’s Loddon Mallee South Program Manager Kaylene DeWacht says the move is a positive step forward. "We are thrilled to be here – it is a great opportunity to support our clients. There is a lot of foot traffic and already there has been interest expressed in the services we are offering.”

Paula Richards, Program Manager Commonwealth Home Support Program (CHSP) services says, "It is wonderful to have a presence here in Castlemaine - we are really able to connect to the local community."

One of the guests attending was Rev Sarah Tomlinson of the Uniting Church Castlemaine who says, “I am so pleased you have a physical presence here. There is a long connection between Uniting AgeWell and the Uniting Church and we are delighted you are taking good care of our older members of the community."

Swan Hill

The following day the Swan Hill office at 152-162 Campbell Street opened, with a moving Welcome to Country by Debra Chaplin and Imparja, proud Elder and future leader of the Wamba-Wamba/Watti Watti clans.

Staff and members of the community were treated to a fabulous lunch, including beautiful cup-cakes that tasted as wonderful as they looked.

One of the guests was Peter Walsh, MP for Swan Hill who says, "With local government exiting age and home care, it is wonderful that such a well-respected aged care organisation like Uniting AgeWell is taking over, so older people can live well at home. It is a real win-win for the community.”

He adds, "Should I grow older I would certainly consider using their services."

The beautiful new building has room for information sessions with the public, and Program Manager Alison Caldwell is thrilled to have such a visible presence in the city, with a huge increase in foot traffic.

Alison says demand for home care services has continued to increase since Uniting AgeWell started delivering Government-funded home care packages to people in the Swan Hill and Kerang region in December 2016. This, followed the successful transition services from the Swan Hill Rural City Council.

“Since then, our home care services have gone from strength to strength, our service reach in the region further expanded in June 2024 to include the Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP), delivering services such as domestic assistance, personal care and Meals on Wheels to the local community.”

Find out more about home care