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When I started working on 31 August 1998 St John’s Community Care had been operating for almost one year. I was employed for 12 hours per week to provide admin support at Redlynch and at my interview was told the hours would probably not increase – the Admin/Finance team now consists of 12 people at Redlynch alone!
There were approximately 30 employees working for St John’s. The programs were After Hours Respite at Redlynch, Aged Care Packages in Cairns, Mareeba and Innisfail. Project 300 and Project Plus clients had recently commenced and there was a 24 hour house in Atherton. My jobs were varied, every second Friday morning was spent doing the pays and bills (all done in a couple of hours), often on a Wednesday I would head to Woollies at Smithfield and do the shopping for the Respite clients meals. There was one bus to transport the clients to and from Respite. The original priest’s house was our office and there was wonderful atmosphere with the clients wandering down the hall to say hello on their way to the bathroom. There was a fenced area at the front of the house and two basset hounds greeted the clients as they arrived and children as they went past on their way to Daycare.
As the years went by the house had additions to the back as clients and staff increased. Disability had their office on the far side of the Church for a while. The Parish Hall was built and then the upstairs offices. As the organisation grew and more staff were located at Redlynch, the house was demolished for the current Respite/Administration Centre.
Many staff have come and gone over the years, only 2 of the support workers who were here when I started are still working with St John’s, Sharyn Harvey and Raylene Charles who work with disability clients and Glenda Barnes started in Respite shortly after .
There are approximately 320 staff now and St John’s have offices in Mareeba, Thursday Island, Innisfail, Townsville and Brisbane and the Respite Centre and Young Lifestyle Centre in Gordonvale. Our payroll now takes two days each week to process and keeping track of the accounts is almost a full time job.
I have always enjoyed working at St John’s and liked the challenges that come with new clients and programs. I have worked with many wonderful people, the Board Members, Managers, Coordinators and Team Leaders, Support Workers and the Admin Team.