The modern medical and allied health facility built on Ridgway by the Mirboo North and District Community Foundation (the Community Foundation) was formally opened on Saturday 11th December. Hundreds of community members attended, taking up the invite to have a tour of the facility and afternoon tea as part of the celebration.
Paul Pratt, Chair of the Community Foundation, welcomed everyone, thanking Moyha Davies, Mayor, South Gippsland Shire, John Schelling and Claire Williams, Councillors of South Gippsland Shire Council, as well as Melissa Ferguson, Councillor with Latrobe City Shire for joining in this important community celebration.
The existing medical practice in Mirboo North has leased the building, which includes five consulting rooms, two treatment rooms and a pathology room. The new facility will provide twice the space of their current premises.
“The Community Foundation built this facility to strengthen and sustain the medical services across our district,” explained Paul Pratt. “We have worked closely with the Mirboo North Medical Centre practice to help secure their mission of providing a medical and health service of excellence without financial discrimination.”
“The purpose-built facility has exceeded all our expectations and will provide better access to medical and allied health services for all in our community,” added Dr. Sonya Moncrieff. “The existing clinic had no space to accommodate additional medical practitioners. With a significant expansion from two to five consulting rooms, we are aiming to have a strong medical team, including four Doctors, and various Allied Health Professionals.”
The new state-of-the-art facility has cost the Community Foundation $1.9 million. It is an asset that will sit on its balance sheet and is classified as an ‘impact’ investment. This means it has a lower financial return (compared to its broader investment portfolio) but a significant social return in the form of the improved community health outcomes.
“We know from the Mirboo North & District Vital Signs Report that half of the residents in the area are health care card holders,” noted Ruth Rogan, Executive Officer. “A larger medical facility which provides increased access to bulk billing doctors, will have a big impact on the health of our communities.”
There is a wonderful circularity to this story, as the Community Foundation’s origins were in community healthcare. The Mirboo North Bush Nursing Hospital, which was built in 1932, became Mirboo North Aged Care in 1994 and was sold in 2008 for $5 million. The Community Foundation was created to hold the proceeds from the sale and to invest it for the future of the communities that had previously used the hospital.
“Through these investments and generous community donations the Community Foundation now has a perpetual fund of more than $8 million and has given more than $1.5 million back to the community through grants and sponsorships,” explained Paul Pratt. “The medical centre is the Community Foundation’s most significant undertaking and one that stands to serve those who live in and around Mirboo North for generations”.
The perpetual investment model of the Community Foundation is akin to the district having its own superannuation fund. The Community Foundation’s investments are the capital base for a steady perpetual annual income to fund and support the challenges and opportunities facing our communities: today, tomorrow and in 100 years’ time.
“The existence of the Community Foundation has enabled our communities to tackle bigger projects,” says Ruth Rogan. “It allows the communities in our district to dream big dreams.”
For more information about the work of the Mirboo North and District Community Foundation please visit: mirboodistrictfoundation.org.au