Launching Essendon and meeting Emma - Annecto

Launching Essendon and meeting Emma

A staff submission from Leah McGann, Operations Manager for Housing and Support

In December 2023, when most people were getting ready for a relaxing holiday season, the Housing and Support team was buzzing with activity like an anthill. 

With only a few weeks’ notice, they took on the challenge of having two people moving into our new Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA) in Essendon and to have supports organised for them on time before Christmas. 

“Being part of the Essendon launch was incredibly important, especially with the goal of getting the site up and running before Christmas. The tight timeframe wasn’t just a deadline; it was a commitment to making a real impact. We wanted to ensure that someone returning home from a lengthy hospital stay could experience the joy of the holiday season in their own space,” Housing and Support Operations Manager Leah McGann explained. 

A lot had to be done in a short amount of time, from ensuring that the apartments were furnished and ready to host people, checking that all the paperwork and administration work was completed, to confirming that the right supports would be available on time. 

To achieve this, the Housing and Support team had to work collaboratively with other Annecto teams such as People, Culture and Quality, Administration and Accounts Payable.  

“We brought in nine new staff members dedicated to this project within a very short time frame. The teamwork that was on display was amicable and a real motivator during this project,” Dulip Jayakody, Housing and Support PCQ Business Partner, said. 

Together and after a lot of work and coordination, they made it happen! The two new tenants could move in on time to spend the holiday season in their new homes. Since then, three more people have moved into the building. 

But let’s now meet Emma, one of the two Essendon tenants who wanted to share her story with us. 

Always keen for a cheesy garlic bread, Emma is a bubbly and fun person to be around. A few years ago, Emma was diagnosed with Dry Beriberi Syndrome, which affected her nervous system and resulted in paralysis from her neck down. From then on, she has continued to fight lots of battles, being the only one with the condition in Australia, and as a result ended up spending over two and a half years in hospital. 

“You don’t know what you have till you lose it,” she says. 

But on 14 December 2023, Emma was able to achieve her goal of living independently! With the support of her family and the Annecto team, she was able to transition from hospital to her new home in Essendon. It wasn’t easy and it took Emma some time to adjust to her new environment. She describes her transition as nerve racking. 

But two months down the track now and Emma has achieved huge milestones, with the biggest achievement of being independent, cleaning and cooking by herself. She now enjoys her private space, baking and binge-watching her favourite TV shows whenever she feels like it. 

She says that having a supportive team of support workers who go above and beyond has helped make her feel comfortable. 

And the feeling is mutual. Annecto support workers have said that “Emma just makes me want to sing her songs” and that “working with Emma is fun and makes my day”. 

With time, support and perseverance, Emma has been able to enjoy finding herself and is taking it one day at a time to achieve her dreams and goals. 

– Leah, Operations Manager for Housing and Support at Annecto

Housing and Support helps you live independently in the home of your choice. To learn more about the services we offer in this space, click here