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Saturday, January 23, 2021

Iconic aged care facility sold

One of the Hunter’s most iconic aged care facilities has been sold in a multi-million-dollar deal.

Maitland Benevolent Society chairman, Bob Geoghegan, announced the sale of Benhome last week to the Royal Freemasons’ Benevolent Institution (RFBI).

Mr Geoghegan said the society had actively looked for a suitable purchaser for months to provide a more extensive offering to the community in and around Maitland.

He added seven not-for-profit aged care providers were considered as part of the process.

“This is great news for our residents and their families, our staff and the wider community,” Mr Geoghegan said.

He believed the RFBI deal would safeguard Benhome’s future.
The facility was sanctioned in September 2018 after it failed to meet 14 of 44 expected outcomes of accreditation standards.

However, it had ticked all the boxes by mid-December.

Benhome chief executive John Cleary said the RFBI’s reputation and promise to spend money on refurbishments were major factors in the sale.

“The plan for spending $10 million on the facility is a big thing,” he said.

“[RFBI] is a really reputable not-for-profit group themselves and they’re almost the same age as us.

“We’re 152-years-old and they are 139, so I believe we are [two of the] oldest charities in NSW.”

Benhome offers residential, dementia, respite and home care services to more than 140 older people in Regent Street, near Maitland hospital.

The Maitland Benevolent Society insisted neither residents nor home care clients would be adversely affected by the sale.

It added four staff members from the finance and management team would not continue into the new ownership model, but all other staff would retain their current positions.

Three of the staff who are not moving across to the RFBI will remain with the Maitland Benevolent Society.

The society, which was first established in 1867 when a group of compassionate community members bonded together to raise money for those in need, developed a primary focus on aged care in the 1970s.

RFBI chairman David Adams said the acquisition of Benhome represented a natural fit.

“RFBI operates four other residential care villages in the Hunter Region, three retirement villages, as well as home care services,” he said.
“This is a very positive outcome for Benhome residents, families, home care clients and staff and our team will be working closely with all parties to make the transition as smooth as possible.”

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