An outstanding new development, and a new era of aged care, navigated with Melbourne’s Jewish community, neighbours and local councillors.
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With long waiting lists, Emmy Monash needed to grow. After purchasing land near to its current premises, it commissioned leading Australian architecture firm, Bates Smart, to design a building that set new benchmarks for aged care.
In order that this new building reflect community needs, attract philanthropic support for a compelling vision, and enjoy support from neighbours and council, Emmy Monash knew a comprehensive range of community engagement and consultation was required.
Ellis Jones worked with the President of the board, a highly engaged subcommittee and the CEO. With the title of Shape Tomorrow, a strategy and range of activities were developed comprising, broadly:
- Research and co-design with community members and employees
- Stakeholder and local government communication
- Brand identity development and activation
- Website development and digital communications
- Philanthropy engagement plan
Ellis Jones worked with Emmy Monash to conduct consumer and stakeholder insights and co-design research gaining employee feedback on internal architecture, community input on the aged care experience and stakeholder feedback on how they did and didn’t want to work with the company.
The Research methodology included:
- In-depth stakeholder interviews: to understand the objectives, needs and preferences, relationship dynamics and activities of key Jewish community organisations and donors
- Focus groups: to understand the emotions, connections to community, values, priorities and awareness/perceptions of aged care among key target audience groups (ILU residents, 55-65-year-olds (family members) and 70+ (older people).
- Community survey: to gain quantitative data about community priorities, influencing factors and decision-making.
- Employee survey: to understand the existing links employees have to the community (social, ethnic, faith-based, sporting etc.) and workplace pain/gain points.
- Co-design program with community members and employees to address design elements and programming.
While the Shape Tomorrow program was underway, a community campaign – called Never Too Old To – was launched during senior’s week to draw attention to the active lives older people have and gather community members around a positive vision for aged care.
Ellis Jones communicators supported engagement with the local council with the aim of clearly stating the support Emmy Monash had for its new building, and minimising conditions on the development that could undermine the achievement of the vision.
The Shape Tomorrow program research and consultation reached about 3,000 people, enabling Emmy Monash to demonstrate a genuine interest in the community and a powerful groundswell of support for the new facility.
Project recommendations, from functional changes to door and hall widths to high-quality customer experiences, led to important architectural and interior design outcomes.
Council was highly supportive, with only minimum conditions requiring minor changes to the streetscape façade. There was no escalation to VCAT.
Emmy Monash raised a significant proportion of the capital required for its multimillion-dollar development from philanthropy.
Most importantly, the new facility has set new benchmarks in aged care for Jewish community members. Its ground floor hosts a range of cultural activities, bringing the community in to participate with elderly residents.