As published in the Gilgandra Weekly, Tuesday May 22, 2018.
Refurbishment at the Jack Towney Hostel has finished, giving residents and their visitors a higher quality-of-life as the facility moves forwards.
Guests, clients and friends of the hostel gathered on the lawn for the official opening on Friday, May 18, 2018.
Brand new office facilities, a commercial-grade kitchen, amenities and an updated reception are make up the 13 square metres of new building, which adjoins to the public dining room.
"Before, the staff were struggling for space. We've divided up the administration and the common areas so that residents will have greater privacy," said Gilgandra Shire Council's director of community services Matthew Wilson.
The Council operates the hostel independently as part of its aged care portfolio, providing options for Indigenous aged care. The extension also contains a new full-sized pantry room and gives staff a more central base of operations.
"We've come a long way to get to this day. It's been one of my dreams to have an extension built at Jack Towney," said Jack Towney board member Michael Caine.
"When I visit this hostel I can see that it's not just a place to stay, it's a place that feels like home," said member for Parkes, Mark Coulton.
"Other towns that aren't as well-equipped as Gilgandra when it comes to aged care face problems when people get older and are forced to more away," said Mr Coulton. "These facilities mean that locals can spend their final years of life in the community they know and love," he said. Mr Coulton was an advocate for the renovation, speaking with officials from the department of health to further funding for the project, which officially began in 2015.
"By 2030, Australia will have many more older people, and we need to be ready for them," he siad.
The Jack Towney Hostel was opened in 1989 after vigorous community and volunteer involvement.
"This hostel provides accommodation and employment for many, thanks to the hard work of pioneers like Joy Trudgett and Jack Towney himself," said mayor Doug Batten. "It's very important that we retain and grow this service."