Stratford's Agecare Central is a true community success story, says the charitable organisation's chair Peter McDonald.

"I think Stratford might be the only town in New Zealand that owns its own hospital, rest home, dementia unit and retirement village."

He says around 200 people currently receive some form of care from the organisation, ranging from people staying in the dementia unit through to people living elsewhere but using services provided by the community care part of Agecare Central.

Agecare Central has an annual turnover of approximately $6 million, says Peter.


"And about $3 million of that goes back into the community in various ways, from purchasing services, paying contractors and paying wages to staff."

He says Agecare Central is one of the biggest employers in the Stratford District and is still growing.

"We have new chalets currently under construction and are always looking at ways to increase and extend the services we provide to our elderly people."

The start of the new year marked some change at the top, with former chief executive officer Neil Volzke stepping down from the role he had held since the inception of Agecare central.

Peter says Neil 's tenure as Agecare CEO has left a legacy the town will benefit from for generations to come.

"Neil has been a driving force over those 13 years in growing Agecare Central and making it what it is today."

It left a big hole to fill, says Peter, and it took three people to fill it.

"After much thought and discussion, the board decided to go with a team of three people at the top for management. So we now have Jo Russ, Michelle Parrett and Helen Jones working together overseeing the organisation."


All three women already worked for Agecare Central, says Peter.

"Which shows we grow and keep great talent."

Each is in charge of a specific area of the organisation, with Jo looking after property and HR, Michelle overseeing the clinical practice and Helen looking after the finance.

"Each of the women have real strengths in their area, and together they are a formidable team who will really help Agecare Central continue to grow and serve the community.

The focus of Agecare central is always the community it serves, says Peter.

"Our whole goal is to look after our own people. The people there are the people from our community. When I walk through either of the rest homes I see people I knew as a child growing up in Stratford. That sense of community can only happen when we support each other and stay as locally focused as we do."