Joy and relief for Whyalla as not-for-profit aged care provider Helping Hand rescues 200 jobs

Aged care services are set to remain in Whyalla as not-for-profit Helping Hand acquires Kindred Living, securing more than 200 local jobs.

Helping Hand took over management of Whyalla’s aged care homes in November 2021, after the closure of the Annie Lockwood facility, which was blamed on staffing problems and a tough year for the sector.

Helping Hand’s temporary management was meant to end in November, but CEO Chris Stewart said the not-for-profit had decided to acquire Kindred Living permanently, meaning Whyalla would not be left without an aged care provider.

“There are a lot of homes, particularly in regional areas, which are closing, which is really sad because those older people are displaced from their communities and their families,” he said.

Member for Grey Rowan Ramsey said if Helping Hand hadn’t been able to stay in Whyalla to manage the two aged care homes, he wasn’t sure a new operator could have filled the void.

“It really was the only option for us on the table, I don’t know where we would have found another operator,” he said.

Helping Hand will now be responsible 110 people in residential care in Whyalla as well as 120 home care packages.

Mr Stewart said Help Hand’s priority would now be chasing the federal government for more funding to upgrade Yeltana Nursing Home, so that residents could have their own rooms and bathrooms.

During the last federal election, the Liberal Party promised $10 million to Helping Hand to upgrade the facility.

Mr Stewart said the company would now pursue the Labor Government for similar funding.

“We just have to keep working to get those capital funds into those homes, because they really need it,” he said.

With the acquisition, Helping Hand operates 11 aged care facilities, supporting 7,000 residents and employing 1,900 staff across South Australia.