LOCALS are well aware of Merton Living's excellence.
And, fingers crossed, so too will the rest of the nation after the Denman organisation was announced as a finalist in the Regional, Rural, Remote Provider of the Year category at the 2019 ACSA (Aged & Community Services Australia) Aged Care Awards next month.
The function, to take place at Doltone House in Sydney on Thursday, July 25, celebrates the outstanding achievements and contributions made by groups, teams and individuals in the aged care industry throughout a 12-month period.
The winners from each state and territory then form the list of nominees for higher honours, which will be presented during ACSA's 32nd National Summit in Melbourne from October 8 to 10.
Merton Living general manager Shani Mitchell admitted it was a great thrill to be acknowledged.
"We're a bit surprised," she said.
"I'm well aware that there are many high-quality services in the regional, rural, remote areas of NSW.
"I work closely with a number of them, so it is wonderful to be considered as a worthy finalist.
"In fact, I know two others in our category who've worked just as hard as us.
"They've put their heart and soul into doing the best they can for their own elderly community.
"Merton Living was a founding member of the NIACC Alliance.
"It was formed about two years ago to strengthen regional, rural and remote providers, by joining forces to improve buying power, as well as create our own support network.
"Two other founding members are also finalists while our NIACC Alliance is up for an award in another section, too.
"So, it will be tough."
Ms Mitchell said the nomination was a nice reward for the staff's effort.
"Everyone walks a bit taller just to be considered as a finalist," she explained.
"We tried our hand last year nominating some employees and volunteers.
"Those we put forward were so pleased to be recognised by us as an employer.
"And, then for our volunteers who were finalists, it was extra exciting to be acknowledged by our aged care peak body ACSA as well.
"They were very proud to stand up on stage at the awards dinner to receive their certificate.
"They brought them back to display at Merton Court, so everyone could share their success."
A victory on July 25 would also cap off a prosperous period for the local operation.
"If we were to win, it'd be a wonderful boost to our staff and board, who have worked extremely hard and given their own time to create such a fantastic aged care service," Ms Mitchell said.
"We were very excited to capture our category at the recent Muswellbrook Chamber of Commerce and Industry Business Awards.
"So, to receive a NSW-wide aged care accolade would be tremendous.
"It is disheartening to hear of the poor services provided in other areas.
"That can have a big impact on morale.
"It is important to celebrate the many good and high-quality aged care services."