|Our Malvern opportunity shop at 136 Wattletree Road after opening in 1964 (left), and 50 years later (right).
Over 59 Years of History
mecwacare is an organisation founded by a group of volunteers concerned about the elderly and vulnerable in their local area, and is a unique story of a community caring for itself.
In the 1950s councillors at the City of Malvern came up with the idea of providing the first senior citizens’ centre in Malvern. The councillors ran dances at the Malvern Town Hall to raise funds to build the centre on a site at the south-east corner of the Malvern Cricket Ground. The new centre was completed in 1958, and the City of Malvern invited members of the community to be directly involved in caring for their relatives and friends. This voluntary committee looked at other needs for older people in the community, and formally became the Malvern Elderly Citizens Welfare Association (MECWA) in 1959.
In 1960 MECWA began our meals-on-wheels service, and we opened our first Opportunity Shop in Malvern in 1964 to raise funds to support our services. This important source of fundraising was expanded with the opening of our Malvern East store in 1969 and our Windsor store in 1996.
Diversifying our services
Independent living units were opened at MECWA House in Warner Street Malvern in 1973, and demand in the area continued to grow. The 1970s also brought about the acquisitions of what is now the Barry Fenton Centre (formerly known as the Bowen Street Centre) and a property in Fisher Street, Malvern East - at the time a base for our meals on wheels services, but later to become our day centre for people with a disability.
By 1991 MECWA House had been extended significantly and renamed the Olive Miller Nursing Home. In 1998 we opened an aged-care facility in Prahran, the Sir Donald and Lady Trescowthick Centre, and our Community Housing units in Glen Iris. In the same year our head office relocated to Waverley Road in Malvern East.
In the early 1990’s the organisation moved into the provision of care and services in clients' homes, and by the mid to late 1990’s we had expanded our services across Melbourne and grown our client and staff numbers enormously, including the establishment of an office in Pakenham to accommodate the increasing need for care services in the Cardinia Shire region. In 1999 we established Rivendell House Community Centre in Pakenham, providing social and activity programs to older people and people with an acquired brain injury living in the region.
New millennium brings big changes
In 2001 to further accommodate increasing demand we constructed a brand new aged-care facility - the Noel Miller Centre in Glen Iris. This resulted in the sale of Olive Miller Nursing Home with all residents moving across to the new facility. In 2007 the construction of mecwacare Malvern Centre aged care facility began, with the facility opening in 2010.
MECWA’s oldest landmark, the original Malvern Elderly Citizens Centre, was marked down for demolition by Stonnington Council to make way for a larger Malvern Library which opened in 2005. In 2009 we made the decision to close down our first day centre and consolidate the services it provided to older people into our Bowen Street site.
The Sir Donald and Lady Trescowthick Centre in Prahran (left) and Community Housing Services in Glen Iris (right) were both opened in 1998.
In 2007 our name changed from MECWA to mecwacare, representative of the focus of the organisation as we grew into a larger care and services provider across Melbourne and into regional Victoria.
Following a move from Malvern East in 2015, today mecwacare Corporate Services, Home Nursing and Care South East Metro Service, and our Home Care Packages Service operate out of our office in Malvern Road, Malvern.
Fisher Street Centre in Malvern East provides day programs for people with disabilities, including skills building, education, vocation support, inclusion support and leisure activities. Our services to people with a disability are growing significantly, both as centre-based programs and as care and respite services provided into our client’s homes where we have clients ranging from infants to old age.
Our Community Centres at Bowen Street Malvern East, and Rivendell House Pakenham offer programs for people with dementia, people with an acquired brain injury, and older adults looking for social integration and inclusion. The increasing demand for services in the Cardinia Shire has also resulted in the recent expansion of Planned Activity Groups to Garfield, Koo Wee Rup and Emerald.
Our Home Nursing and Care Services have expanded considerably with offices in Melbourne CBD, Pakenham, Malvern, Keilor East and, since 2013, Ballarat, marking the first time our organisation provided care outside metropolitan Melbourne. Our South West Region office operates out of Ballarat, providing service across a large region of south western Victoria.
mecwacare now has residential aged-care facilities in Melbourne (Malvern, Glen Iris, Prahran, Richmond, Mont Albert North and Westmeadows) and in regional Victoria (Mornington, Hamlyn Heights, Traralgon and Hoppers Crossing.
We have expanded our Community Housing Services, now providing over 90 units to people over 65 or people with a disability. We have fully renovated units in Beaumaris, and new units in Sandringham and Glen Iris.
Our original Malvern Op Shop is still operating, along with two other stores in Malvern East and Windsor, and as of 2016 two more shops in Hawthorn and Reservoir. Our many volunteers are the heart and soul of the Op Shops, which are vital as all funds raised go towards caring for our clients and residents.
From small beginnings in Malvern, mecwacare now provides care services in all 31 local councils of metropolitan Melbourne, and across a substantial area of regional Victoria. With a strategic plan for service growth, mecwacare is always seeking opportunities to expand our services and provide care and support to the Victorian community in innovative ways.